YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: IN THE KINGDOM THERE IS FULLNESS OF LIFE
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Jn. 6:1-15) Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel is about the miracle of the loaves. It was, for the early Christian community, a Gospel on the coming Kingdom. A sort of a foretaste for the crowd present at the time. The Kingdom of God will fill everyone. No one will be hungry, thirsty, empty etc. The fullness of life will be experienced in the Kingdom.
Bishop Ambo David, during one of our retreats, pointed out that there is something more in the Gospel especially for priests. Actually, he meant for those who are generous. Those who, all through their lives had served generously and had left almost nothing for themselves. The Gospel had very interesting message for those who had given their lives for the Kingdom. They are the so called, “left overs”, mga “tira-tira”. Thanksgiving comes from the recognition of graces. It begins with appreciating and treasuring what you have. The disciples did not appreciate what they were able to acquire; merely five loaves and two fish. Indeed they were not enough to feed everyone. But Jesus was different. He knew how to appreciate what He had. From that recognition of what He had, He thanked God for them. For the disciples, they may be meager, but for Him, they were enough, or as it happened, they were more than enough. Thanks too to those who shared them. Out of those meager supply, God made possible the miracle of feeding the crowd. With our generosity, God can do a lot, even feeding a crowd of five thousand men and some women and children. Miracles do happen when man’s goodness and God’s graces meet!
But a very interesting move from the Lord Jesus came after the feeding. “They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up the fragments left over-twelve wicker baskets full.” Why would Jesus gather the left overs? If He is really “generous”, why bother to gather the left overs? We may have many reasons, some practical and some traditional, for this action, but it also means that generosity is never taken for granted by the Lord. God can not be outdone in generosity. Left overs are gathered by God for Himself. He meant to give them due recognition. He meant to thank them for sharing themselves. Bread must be broken in order to be shared. It is the only way it can fulfill its mission. In the process, crumbs and some pieces are left or spilled. The presence of crumbs and left overs are testimonies of the feeding. This is the EUCHARISTIC ATTITUDE; to be broken and shared for the feeding.
Who are the left overs? They can be the parents who had spent their lives rearing, educating, forming, and guiding their children. They are the “yayas”, drivers, helpers who had spent most of their lives serving their amos, senoritos y senoritas. They are the teachers who had given and dedicated their lives to teach, share their experience, and transfer technologies to their students. They are the government officials who had served and offered their time for the sake of their citizenry. They are the company workers, from the rank and file to the bosses, who had committed to their work and treated their companies not anymore as a source of income but an opportunity to serve God through their God-given gifts. They are your priests, specially your parish priest, who had made themselves available for the sacraments and managed the parish so that God’s graces may always be available.
To those who had become “left overs” in the world, in the end, God will take them with Him in His Kingdom, whole and full! The Church, the institution of left overs is a living testimony to the feeding of the people by God. God will gather the Church in the end, whether for recycling or another feeding, it depends on God. With God’s love for left overs, who would be afraid of becoming one?