17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Note: Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I had been compiled for you after the Mass Readings below. Happy Reading!
Readings at Mass
Liturgical Colour: Green.
First Reading: 2 Kings 4:42-44
They will eat, and have some left over
A man came from Baal-shalishah, bringing Elisha, the man of God, bread from the first-fruits, twenty barley loaves and fresh grain in the ear.’ ‘Give it to the people to eat’, Elisha said. But his servant replied, ‘How can I serve this to a hundred men?’ ‘Give it to the people to eat’ he insisted ‘for the Lord says this, “They will eat and have some left over.”’ He served them; they ate and had some left over, as the Lord had said.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 144(145):10-11,15-18
You open wide your hand, O Lord, and grant our desires.
All your creatures shall thank you, O Lord, and your friends shall repeat their blessing.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign and declare your might, O God.
The eyes of all creatures look to you and you give them their food in due time.
You open wide your hand, grant the desires of all who live.
The Lord is just in all his ways and loving in all his deeds.
He is close to all who call him, who call on him from their hearts.
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.
cf. John 6:63,68
Your words are spirit, Lord, and they are life;
you have the message of eternal life.
A great prophet has appeared among us;
God has visited his people.
Gospel: John 6:1-15
The feeding of the five thousand
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.
Acknowledgment: We thank the Publisher for allowing us to publish the Mass Readings to be used as reference for Homilies & Angelus / Regina Caeli of Pope Saint John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI & Pope Francis I as a source of God’s encouragements to all of us around the World.
Homilies, Angelus / Regina Caeli
Dear young people, I am expecting you in Paris, where it will give me great joy to meet you and share with you in prayer and in reflection our common faith in Christ, source of immortal life. From every corner of the world the Church sees advancing a new generation thirsting for truth, freedom and happiness: dear young people, you long for an interior life and dialogue with Christ. You seek authentic teachers and witnesses to show you the way of truth and love. You sometimes ask yourselves: "Who will teach us to pray? Who will introduce us into the life-giving mystery of the Good News?". Look at all those who have gone before you on the arduous and exciting path of faith and holiness. They will help you share that same witness to faith which has marked their life.
To strive for holiness, to follow Jesus on the demanding way of the Gospel, is a fundamental aspect of every Christian life — as you well know. What is holiness if not entering into a deep relationship with God, Trinity of love, and growing in intimacy with Christ, Son of God incarnate? And does not true self-discipline contribute to strengthening the person's interior being as well as his integral growth?
Dear young people, Christ repeats to each one of you: "Get up and walk!". He counts on you, he awaits each one of you. He invites you to become aware of your dignity as persons for whom he shed his blood. He comes to meet you on the path of life; he forgives you and makes you a gift of his joy and his peace.
On this journey of deepening your understanding of the Gospel and of encounter with Christ, the Mother of the Incarnate Word is beside you. Contemplate Mary! Like her, may you be able to say "yes" to the Lord’s call. Ask her to guide you in your daily choices, so that you can fulfil your vocation and live to the full in the freedom of God’s children.
Pope John Paul II (Angelus, 3 August 1997)
The need for an integral Christianity, which cuts no corners with the truth and at the same time knows how to meet the challenge of history and modernity, marked all of the last century and became strongly apparent at the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.
The Church has understood more and more clearly, in the course of the sometimes tragic events of past decades, that her task is care and responsibility for man, not "abstract" man, but real, "concrete", "historical" man, to whom she constantly offers Christ, his only Redeemer. For only in Christ - and we never tire of repeating it, especially during this Jubilee Year - can human beings find the full, true meaning of their existence. Christianity therefore cannot be reduced to a doctrine, or to mere principles, because Christ, the centre of Christianity, is alive and his presence constitutes the event which continually renews human creatures and the cosmos. This truth of Christ must be vigorously proclaimed today, as it was courageously defended in the 20th century by so many witnesses to the faith and by renowned Christian thinkers, including one whom I would like to recall today, Vladimir Sergeyevich Soloviev, the centenary of whose death occurs in a few days.
In recalling this Russian figure of extraordinary depth, who also noted with great clarity the tragic division among Christians and the urgent need for their unity, I would like to invite you to pray that Christians of the East and West can restore their full communion as soon as possible. For this to happen, it is indispensable that they all be converted to Christ, alive yesterday, today and always, and that, by living his Gospel without compromise, they become the leaven of a new humanity. This is the prayer we raise to heaven today, supported by Mary Most Holy, Seat of Divine Wisdom, to whom we now turn with confidence.
Pope John Paul II (Angelus, 30 July 2000)
Special attention should be paid to safeguarding the value of Sunday, Dies Domini. This day is the symbol par excellence of all that Christianity has stood for and still stands for, in Europe and throughout the world: the perennial proclamation of the Good News of the Resurrection of Jesus, the celebration of his victory over sin and death, the commitment to the human being's full liberation. By preserving the Christian meaning of Sunday a notable contribution is made to Europe for the preservation of an essential part of its own particular spiritual and cultural heritage.
May the Blessed Virgin, to whom so many churches and chapels are dedicated in the different regions of Europe, make her protection felt over all the peoples on the Continent.
Pope John Paul II (Angelus, 3 August 2003)
At this time, I cannot but think of the increasingly grave and tragic situation which the Middle East is experiencing: hundreds of dead, numerous injured, a huge number of homeless people and evacuees, houses, towns and infrastructures destroyed, while in many hearts, hatred and the desire for revenge seems to be growing. This clearly shows that it is impossible to re-establish justice, create a new order and build authentic peace with recourse to violent means.
We see more than ever how prophetic and at the same time realistic the voice of the Church is when, in the face of wars and conflicts of every kind, she points out the path of truth, justice, love and freedom, as was said in Blessed Pope John XXIII's immortal Encyclical, Pacem in Terris. Humanity must also take this path today if it is to attain the desired good of true peace.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 30 July 2006)
Today, on this splendid Sunday, as the Lord shows us all the beauty of his Creation, the liturgy provides us with the Gospel passage at the beginning of Chapter Six of John's Gospel. It contains, first of all, the miracle of the loaves - when Jesus fed thousands of people with only five loaves of bread and two fish; then, the Lord's miracle when he walks on the waters of the lake during a storm; and finally, the discourse in which he reveals himself as "the Bread of Life". In recounting the "sign" of bread, the Evangelist emphasizes that Christ, before distributing the food, blessed it with a prayer of thanksgiving (cf. v. 11). The Greek term used is eucharistein and it refers directly to the Last Supper, though, in fact, John refers here not to the institution of the Eucharist but to the washing of the feet. The Eucharist is mentioned here in anticipation of the great symbol of the Bread of Life. In this Year for Priests, how can we fail to recall that we priests, especially, may see ourselves reflected in this Johannine text, identifying ourselves with the Apostles when they say: Where can we find bread for all these people? Reading about that unknown boy who has five barley loaves and two fish, we too spontaneously say: But what are they for such a multitude? In other words: Who am I? How can I, with my limitations, help Jesus in his mission? And the Lord gives the answer: By taking in his "holy and venerable" hands the little that they are, priests, we priests, become instruments of salvation for many, for everyone!
A second point for reflection comes from today's liturgical commemoration of Saints Joachim and Anne, parents of Our Lady, and therefore, grandparents of Jesus. This occasion makes us think of the subject of education which has an important place in the pastoral work of the Church. In particular, it invites us to pray for grandparents, who, in the family, are the depositories and often witnesses of the fundamental values of life. The educational task of grandparents is always very important, and it becomes even more so when, for various reasons, the parents are unable to provide their children with an adequate presence while they are growing up. I entrust to the protection of St Anne and St Joachim all the grandparents of the world and bestow on them a special blessing. May the Virgin Mary who according to a beautiful iconography - learned to read the Sacred Scriptures at her mother Anne's knee, help them always to nourish their faith and hope at the sources of the Word of God.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 26 July 2009)
This Sunday we began by reading Chapter six of John’s Gospel. The chapter opens with the scene of the multiplication of the loaves, which Jesus later comments on in the Synagogue of Capernaum, pointing to himself as the “bread” which gives life. Jesus’ actions are on a par with those of the Last Supper. He “took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated”, the Gospel says (John 6:11). The insistence on the topic of “bread”, which is shared out, and on thanksgiving (v. 11, in Greek eucharistesas), recall the Eucharist, Christ’s sacrifice for the world’s salvation.
The Evangelist observes that the Feast of the Passover is already at hand (cf. v. 4). His gaze is turned to the Cross, the gift of love, and to the Eucharist, the perpetuation of this gift: Christ makes himself the Bread of Life for humankind. St Augustine comments: “Who is the Bread of heaven, but Christ? But in order that man might eat Angels' Bread, the Lord of Angels was made Man. For if he had not been made Man, we should not have his Flesh; if we had not his Flesh, we should not eat the Bread of the Altar” (Sermon 130, 2). The Eucharist is the human being’s ongoing, important encounter with God in which the Lord makes himself our food and gives himself to transform us into him.
A boy’s presence is also mentioned in the scene of the multiplication. On perceiving the problem of of feeding so many hungry people, he shared the little he had brought with him: five loaves and two fish (cf. John 6:9). The miracle was not worked from nothing, but from a first modest sharing of what a simple lad had brought with him. Jesus does not ask us for what we do not have. Rather, he makes us see that if each person offers the little he has the miracle can always be repeated: God is capable of multiplying our small acts of love and making us share in his gift.
The crowd was impressed by the miracle: it sees in Jesus the new Moses, worthy of power, and in the new manna, the future guaranteed. However the people stopped at the material element, which they had eaten, and the Lord “perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king,... withdrew again to the hills by himself” (John 6:15). Jesus is not an earthly king who exercises dominion but a king who serves, who stoops down to human beings not only to satisfy their physical hunger, but above all their deeper hunger, the hunger for guidance, meaning and truth, the hunger for God.
Dear brothers and sisters, let us ask the Lord to enable us to rediscover the importance of feeding ourselves not only on bread but also on truth, on love, on Christ, on Christ’s Body, taking part faithfully and with profound awareness in the Eucharist so as to be ever more closely united with him. Indeed, “It is not the Eucharistic food that is changed into us, but rather we who are mysteriously transformed by it. Christ nourishes us by uniting us to himself; “he draws us into himself” (Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 70).
Let us pray at the same time that the bread necessary for a dignified life may never be lacking and that inequalities may be demolished, not with the weapons of violence but rather with sharing and with love.
Pope Benedict XVI (Angelus, 29 July 2012)
This Sunday’s Gospel presents the great sign of the multiplication of the loaves, in the account of John the Evangelist (6:1-15). Jesus is on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and is surrounded by “a multitude”, who were attracted by “the signs which he did on those who were diseased” (v. 2). Acting in Him is the merciful power of God, who heals every evil of the body and spirit. But Jesus is not only healer, he is also teacher: indeed, he goes up into the hills and sits, with the typical attitude of a teacher when he teaches: he goes up to that natural “pulpit” created by his Heavenly Father. At this point Jesus, who fully understands what he is about to do, puts his disciples to the test. How can they feed all these people? Philip, one of the Twelve, quickly calculates: by taking up a collection, they might collect 200 denarii at most, which would not be enough to feed 5,000 people.
The disciples reason in “marketing” terms, but Jesus substitutes the logic of buying with another logic, the logic of giving. It is here that Andrew, one of the Apostles, the brother of Simon Peter, presents a young lad who offers everything he has: five loaves and two fish; but of course, Andrew says, they are nothing for that multitude (cf. v. 9). Jesus actually expecting this. He orders the disciples to make the people sit down, then he takes those loaves and those fish, gives thanks to the Father and distributes them (cf. v. 11). These acts prefigure the Last Supper, which gives the bread of Jesus its truest significance. The bread of God is Jesus Himself. By receiving Him in Communion, we receive his life within us and we become children of the Heavenly Father and brothers among ourselves. By receiving communion we meet Jesus truly living and risen! Taking part in the Eucharist means entering into the logic of Jesus, the logic of giving freely, of sharing. And as poor as we are, we all have something to give. “To receive Communion” means to draw from Christ the grace which enables us to share with others all we are and all we have.
The crowd is struck by the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves; but the gift Jesus offers is the fullness of life for a hungering mankind. Jesus satiates not only material hunger, but the most profound one, the hunger for the meaning of life, the hunger for God. Before the suffering, loneliness, poverty and difficulties of so many people, what can we ourselves do? Complaining doesn’t resolve anything, but we can offer the little that we have, like the lad in the Gospel. We surely have a few hours of time, certain talents, some skills.... Who among us doesn’t have “five loaves and two fish” of his own? We all have them! If we are willing to place them in the Lord’s hands, they will be enough to bring about a little more love, peace, justice and especially joy in the world. How necessary joy is in the world! God is capable of multiplying our small acts of solidarity and allowing us to share in his gift.
May our prayer sustain the common commitment that no one may lack the heavenly Bread which gives eternal life and the basic necessities for a dignified life, and may it affirm the logic of sharing and love. May the Virgin Mary accompany us with her maternal intercession.
Pope Francis I (Angelus, 26 July 2015)
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Compiled on 29 July 2018