17th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B

Published on 19 Jul 2021
A mosaic showing a basket with loaves and two fish.

‘His hands were as earth beneath the bread and his voice was as thunder above it’

St Ephrem the Syrian (d. 373)

O God, protector of those who hope in you,

without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy,

bestow in abundance your mercy upon us

and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide,

we may use the good things that pass

in such a way as to hold fast even now

to those that ever endure.

This Sunday’s readings remind us that God provides for us physically as well as spiritually.

In the First Reading, Elisha assures his servant that one hundred people will be fed with just twenty barley loaves because the Lord has promised it, while the Psalmist praises the Lord who, by feeding us from his own hand, ‘answers all our needs’.

St Paul, writing to the Church at Ephesus (Second Reading), assures the Christian community that, despite any evidence to the contrary, God, who unifies the people, is in control.

The three readings are brought together in the Gospel account of the Feeding of the Five Thousand (which is a foreshadowing of the Eucharist and the only miracle of Jesus that is recounted in all four gospels). Not only does Jesus outdo Elisha’s miracle, he demonstrates that, by feeding the people from his own divine hands, God is unifying the people through meeting their need.

Let’s pray, this week, that we might know ourselves to be in the hands of the Lord, and that our lives may bear abundant fruit as a result.

You grant our desires.     Psalm

I implore you to lead a life worthy of your vocation.    Second Reading

This week’s texts if you want to explore further:

2 Kings 4: 42–44; Psalm 144 (145); Ephesians 4: 1–6; John 6: 1–15 

Download the full guided reflection below: