YEAR B: HOMILY/REFLECTION FOR THE 17TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: SIT DOWN FIRST
BY: Fr. Christian Eze
First reading – 2 Kg 4:42-44
Second reading – Eph. 4:1-6
Gospel – Jn 6:1-15
The miracle of the multiplication of loaves is important in essence more to the crowd than it was to the disciples of Jesus. I mean, they were the actual physical beneficiaries. An important question would be: why must Jesus order that the crowd should sit down first? Again, since it was that ALL were sited, what could have happened to someone if there were any who refused to sit down? St Mark in his antecedent story tells us that Jesus met the crowd like sheep without shepherded (Mk 6:34). Sheep without shepherded could wander away and get disconnected from the care of the master. It could be possible that they had gathered, each from his place of wandering. Some might have come from seeking refuge in other gods; others might have faced molestations of every kind from various hostile predators. Jesus wanted them now to get focused and recollected. He wanted them to pay attention and not get distracted anymore so that they could be fed by the Good Shepherded, and that they may recognize from where their source of sustenance had come. He could not feed them until they were sited and recollected.
The prophet Isaiah cried out that “We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way” (Is. 53:6). An incontestable fact is that no sheep wanders away without facing certain degree of hunger. Our caring Lord knows the extent to which you have strayed. He knows how hungry you have now become. He orders that you do just one thing – sit down. He has got set to feed you to satisfaction. Jesus feeds us with His word; He feeds us with His own body and blood. To sit down means to settle down, to have taken an option, to have decided not to keep wandering or looking for food elsewhere. It could be unfortunate that while Jesus orders that everyone gets sited, many there are who keep standing. They are still contemplating whether to settle for God or check somewhere else. They are not sure yet if “this man” would be able to feed this entire multitude. You would not be fed if you refuse to sit down. If you are not decided for God yet; if you still visit other dark corners after attending Mass. The good news is that Our Lord is able to feed us in our number no matter how great we are. Those who realize this are already sited before Him. Are you sitting or you chose to keep standing yet? He will feed us. Let us obey the order; sit down first.