YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THAT LITTLE MATTERS A LOT, JUST SHARE IT. DON’T WAIT TILL YOU HAVE GOT ENOUGH.
BY: Fr. Clement C. Aladi
GOSPEL: JOHN 6:1-15.
My dearest Children of God, I joyfully welcome you to the house of God on this 17th Sunday. May the words you will hear today inspire you to live a more generous life.
The readings of today addresses one of the most challenging problems in the human society today. Today Jesus is asking us how generous are we in sharing the little He has given us, especially in this time when many are living below poverty level and countries are going into recession(global decline in economy). We are called to be at this critical time instruments in God’s hand in sharing our blessings with the poor and needy around us. Once physical hungers are satisfied, then we are challenged to satisfy the deeper hungers, for love, mercy, forgiveness, companionship, peace and fulfilment
St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) related a story showing how the poor are more generous than the rich because the poor have experienced hunger and poverty. Learning of a poor Hindu family in Calcutta who had been starving for many days, Mother Theresa visited them and brought a big parcel of rice to the mother. She was surprised to see how the mother divided the rice into two equal portions and went out with one bundle to give it to her Moslem neighbour. When she returned, Mother Theresa asked her why she had done such a generous deed. The woman replied: “My family can manage with half the rice in this bag. My neighbour’s family has several children and they are also starving.”
Do you know that as much as 40% of food goes uneaten in the U.S., according to estimates from the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency. Americans are, in other words, throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion in wasted food every year. This figure has even increased over the years. Many are hungry on the streets but the grocery shops and the rest are throwing out expired food items. Will God ever forgive us?
My dearest Children of God not just countries, but we all are guilty of contributing to hunger in the world. I am not here to blame governments who invested less in Agriculture and increased the cost of importing food into their countries such that the poor cannot afford a daily bread. God has blessed every countries of the world with enough for its citizens, we are the ones creating artificial scarcity in the midst of abundance because of our greedy hearts.. Corrupt and insensitive leaders has worsened the situation but it shall be well. Let’s help each other first, now that the Government has failed us. Many of us make a meaningful leaving and can afford helping many others. St. Teresa of Calcuta once said ” *No one is too poor that he/she has nothing to give.*
The problem is usually the idea of not having enough and the fear that it might run out early.
” Never measure your generosity by what you give, but rather by what you have left.” Fulton J. Sheen.
From the first reading and the gospel we saw the human attitude and perception in the face of helping others… _But Elisha’s servant objected, “How can I set this before a hundred people?”_, in the gospel too Philip answered him, _”Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little.”_ We often think that the little we have will not be enough to share with others but you would not know what God can do with just that little you offered. Just don’t worry about solving the whole problem you can just render the little help you can.
Jesus asked Philip when He saw the large crowd coming to Him “where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do. Jesus asked the question because He wants Philip and others to be involved in feeding the crowd. God wants us all to be involved in feeding the hungry and in helping others. We became agents of God’s miraculous intervention when we offer the little we have as we saw in the First reading with Elisha who fed hundred people with two loaves of bread and Jesus in the gospel who fed 5000 with just five loaves of bread and two fishes. God multiplies the little gifts we bring to Him. Let us not stop giving.
In the second reading, St. Paul reminds the Ephesians and us that Jesus united the Jews and the Gentiles, bringing them together as Christians in “one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all.” Hence, he urges them to keep this unity intact as “one body and one spirit” by living as true Christians, “bearing with one another through love,” in “humility and gentleness, with patience, striving to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”. If we become such a community nobody will go hungry, and God will meet the needs of people through the services provided by members of our community
As Christians we need to commit ourselves to share and to work with God in communicating His compassion to all as the early Christians did. God always blesses those who share their blessings and talents with loving commitment. We can begin our own humble efforts at “sharing” right in our parish by participating in the works of charity.
Let us be generous in sharing our gifts with others, by so doing we can satisfy the deepest hungers for love, forgiveness, etc. Be an instrument in God’s hand, always be compassionate and sensitive to those in need. Neither Elisha nor Jesus waited for the people to come and beg for food, they were simply sensitive to their needs. That is what being a good person or good Leader entails. An indifferent person cannot be a good person. Let us be more sensitive and avoid exploiting those in need. ” *We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”*
Remain blessed as you share with others. *Don’t complain, you can never become poor in helping others and you can never outdo God in generosity* . Remember these words of Elisha “For thus says the LORD, ‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.'” May you experience this divine promise in your life.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Clem Mezie Aladi.