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JULY 25. Ord Time. B. Wk 17. Sun. Jn 6. 1-15

Updated: Sep 10

Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.

Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.

This Gospel tells us why many of crowds were following Jesus; - it was because they were “impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick”; - but Jesus was using his miracles to draw the people so he could teach them. They wanted to see miracles; - while Jesus wanted to tell them the good news of the Gospel; - so both desires were catered for.

We must remember the crowds at this time did not have an established Church to guide and teach them; - as they were still being guided by the Prophets and teachings of the Old Testament while Jesus had come to introduce the New Testament; - with some very different teachings and laws.

One of these was to do with the coming teachings on the Eucharist, and today’s feeding of the multitude was one of the ways Christ was preparing them to receive this teaching; - as the crowd was aware of the Old Testament history of God’s People being fed in the wilderness. In a few days (this same Chapter 6) he was to talk specifically about being “the bread of life!”

In his next sermon he would be telling the crowds; -“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; - if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever; - and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh!” - A teaching they were totally unprepared to receive!

The purpose of today’s feeding was to demonstrate Christ’s divinity; - not only to the crowds, but also to his disciples; - because the teachings on the Eucharist would be a real test of their Faith, and some of his followers would claim the teaching was too difficult to believe!

Which is why, today, we are told all that was available to feed the crowd was “five loaves and two fish”; - but after everybody had eaten, we are told there were “twelve hampers with the scraps left over!”

This was a powerful preparation for the, as yet unknown, teaching on the Eucharist; - ‘He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, has eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day!’

Gospel Acclamation Luke 7:16

Alleluia, alleluia!

A great prophet has appeared among us;

God has visited his people.


Second reading Ephesians 4:1-6 ·

One Body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God

I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.

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