YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
THEME: THE FEEDING OF THE 5000: THAT MIRACLE STILL TAKES PLACE TODAY IN OUR CHURCHES
By Rev Fr Angelo Chidi Unegbu (firstname.lastname@example.org)
HOMILY: A boy donated his food (five loaves and two fish) and it was used in feeding over five thousand people. Whenever anyome makes donations in our churches, he/she does exactly what this little boy did. Through these donations, many churches have built schools, set up businesses, built hospitals, sunk boreholes and so on.
Unfortunately, we do not experience in most cases the miraculous multiplications of our donations in the way we saw in the feeding of the five thousand owing to our greed and lack of the sense of Common Good. We hinder the multiplication of our gifts when we understand the church to mean block structures rather than the human members. We obstruct the miracle of multiplication when we see these donations as opportunity of enriching ourselves rather than alleviating the suffering of people.
Many of our schools and hospitals do not perform the expected miracles because we see them as business or money-making ventures. Rather than thinking of how to feed the hungry, we think more of how to make money from their miserable situation. How many poor people have access to our schools and hospitals? How many of our workers really live decently from their salaries? How many people are feeding from us?
Most of our churches that have boreholes even sell the water to the same people that donated for it. Try to advice them against it, you will get a million reasons why they must charge money. Imagine what such “men and women of God” would have done if they were the apostles. Of course, they would have also found reasons to sell the multiplied bread and fish to the people, an act which would have frustrated the miracle.
The aim of this short reflection is not just to scold or criticize our churches, many of which are trying their possible best in attending to the needy of the society, my intention rather is to remind us as Church that we shall lose our usefulness and relevance when we move away from service especially when it concerns the welfare of the poor and needy around us. Can we imagine a Jesus without the poor and the needy?
If we shall sincerely stand for the needy and the unjustly persecuted at all times, we shall be surprised at the miraculous outcome of our little efforts and how many people we would feed, not only bodily but spiritually.