17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Sunday Church at Home 

during the Coronavirus Pandemic 

 

 

One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,
One God and Father of Us All.
 

 

The leader makes the sign of the cross, saying: 

 

Leader: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

 

All reply: Amen 

 

Leader: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 

 

All reply: Blessed be God for ever 

 

Leader: Let us be inspired by God’s power and mercy to value God’s gifts and share our wealth and blessings for the sake of the common good. We worship as one family, and pray for greater charity and love among all the baptised.  

 

LITURGY OF THE WORD 

 

First Reading: 2 Kings 4:42-44 

 

Introduction to the reading: Elisha was the successor of the great prophet Elijah, who lived about 800 years before Christ. Elisha was noted for his miraculous deeds. Today we hear of one such deed performed during a time of famine. 

 

A reading from the Second Book of Kings 

In those days:
A man came from Baal-shalishah,
bringing the man of God bread of the first fruits,
twenty loaves of barley, and fresh ears of grain in his sack.
And Elisha said, “Give to the people, that they may eat.”  

But his servant said,
“How am I to set this before a hundred people?”  

So he repeated, “Give them to the people, that they may eat,
for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left.’”
So he set it before them.
And they ate, and had some left,
according to the word of the Lord.  

The word of the Lord. 

 

 

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 145:10-11.15-16.17-18 (R. see 16) 

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm: 

R/. You open your hand, Lord, and you satisfy us. 

All your works shall thank you, O Lord,
   and all your faithful ones bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign,
   and declare your mighty deeds. 

The eyes of all look to you,
   and you give them their food in due season.
You open your hand and satisfy
   the desire of every living thing. 

The Lord is just in all his ways,
   and holy in all his deeds.
The Lord is close to all who call him,
   who call on him in truth. 

R/. You open your hand, Lord, and you satisfy us.
 

Second Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6 

Introduction to the reading: The first three chapters of the letter to the Ephesians teach doctrine; we now begin the next part of the letter which contains practical advice for Christian living. In today’s passage, you will hear the author speak of seven ways in which Christians are united. In one sense, this is the foundation of the ecumenical movement. 

 

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians 

Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
beg you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling
to which you have been called,
with all lowliness and meekness, with patience,
forbearing one another in love,
eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit,
just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call,
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
one God and Father of us all,
who is above all and through all and in all. 

 

The word of the Lord. 

 

Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has arisen among us, and God has visited his people.
Alleluia. 

 

Gospel: John 6:1-15 

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John 

At that time:
Jesus went to the other side of the Sea of Galilee,
which is the Sea of Tiberias.
And a multitude followed him,
because they saw the signs which he did
on those who were diseased.
Jesus went up into the hills,
and there sat down with his disciples.
Now the Passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand.
Lifting up his eyes, then,
and seeing that a multitude was coming to him,
Jesus said to Philip, “How are we to buy bread,
so that these people may eat?”
This he said to test him,
for he himself knew what he would do.  

Philip answered him,
“Two hundred denarii would not buy enough bread
for each of them to get a little.”  

One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him,
“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what are they among so many?”  

Jesus said, “Make the people sit down.”
Now there was much grass in the place;
so the people sat down, in number about five thousand.
Jesus then took the loaves, and when he had given thanks,
he distributed them to those who were seated;
so also the fish, as much as they wanted.
And when they had eaten their fill,
he told his disciples, “Gather up the fragments left over,
that nothing may be lost.”
So they gathered them up
and filled twelve baskets
with fragments from the five barley loaves,
left by those who had eaten.  

When the people saw the sign which he had done, they said,
“This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world!”  

Perceiving then that they were about to come
and take him by force to make him king,
Jesus withdrew again to the hills by himself. 

 

The Gospel of the Lord
 

Reflection on the Readings  

The leader reads the text prepared by the priest and leads the sharing. 

Homily  

A village farmer stopped at a restaurant in the nearby town and sat near a group of young fellows who were acting up, shouting at the cook and heckling the waitress. When his meal was set before him the old farmer bowed his head, made the Sign of the Cross to say grace. One of the smart-alecks thought he would have some fun with the old farmer. So he shouted in a loud voice that could be heard by everyone, “Hey, old man, does everyone do this where you come from?” Calmly the old man turned towards the lad with an innocent smile and replied in an equally loud voice: “No son, our pigs don’t.”  

Today’s Gospel tells us that, before feeding the five thousand, Jesus took the loaves of bread, gave thanks to God His Father and distributed them.  

Jesus was drawing large crowds to hear him speak. What was it that drew them to Jesus? Faith? Curiosity? It seems that the people didn’t sit at Jesus’ feet anxious to listen to him. Rather, it was because they “saw the signs he was performing on the sick.” While their physical hunger is not mentioned, Jesus fed them. The disciples didn’t get it. They think they will need money and enough food to feed the people. But Jesus doesn’t just want to just satisfy the people’s physical hungers. He has more to offer them.  

The miracle will be another “sign,” of God reaching out through Jesus to feed our deepest longings and hungers. 

The last two weeks have been a traumatic time for South Africa.  The politically motivated violence and looting has caused immense damage. In this stressful and frightening time, we could let the reading from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians bring us home for a little while. 

Stay with these words:  

“I, beg you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” 

We are called to “live with lowliness or humility.”  

We are to allow the gift of real life in all its forms be with us, and not push it away simply because there is too much else to do. Humility call us to accept all that we are and all we are not. We do not have to be perfect in order to be beloved. Lives that have to be huge and greatly respected and listened to and in control are based on fear, not humility. Gradually we could try to accept the love God has for us, the love that makes us safe.  

We are called to “live with meekness.”  

For me, meekness is all about gentleness. Gentleness can be a little more difficult. Adverts in the media often say that women have to be beautiful at all times or be rejected. They must take care of others, be happy with this particular product, be as strong as men seem, keep up the social calendar, and have a full time job as well. These are some of the pressures advertising puts on women. But relax. God is the gentlest receiver of all, milder than any product, milder than the air we breathe. Relax. We are enough. We are loved by God, who is infinitely gentle. 

Culture tells males that gentleness is just for women and children. Men have to be tough, all tough, and only tough. This is false. Both men’s and women’s bodies and minds have the capacity to be strong, but peace comes from balancing toughness with tenderness toward our mates, our families, our religious brothers and sisters, our friends. 

We are called to “live with patience.”  

Patience is often defined as “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” This is a good enough definition, but it is interesting to note that the Latin origin of the word patience (patior) means “to allow”? We are to allow the gift of real life in all its forms, not push it away simply because there is too much else to do. God gives us ourselves one minute at a time, one hour at a time, not sooner. If we want “to have it all and have it now” we are going against our nature. Each moment, each flower, each step is precious if we let it be. We are to accept the gifts of the compassionate giver and let be. 

We are called “to forbearing one another in love.”  

Think how wonderful it would be if someone were to bear with you, even when you mess up. You would not have to be anything but your own adequate self, loved by God, able to bear up under the surprisingly light burden of loving others. 

Finally, we are called to be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 

“One Lord, one faith, one Baptism,
one God and Father of us all,
who is above all and through all and in all.” 

We are all to keep this Lord before our eyes. The God who gives lasting peace. It is our hope and our call. It is the “barley loaf,” the “one bread” we will receive today. 

One bread, one body, one Lord of all. 

We want to be nourished by the One Bread. So we can ask ourselves: Do we have hungers we are not aware of that Jesus sees and wants to feed? Hearing today’s gospel of the abundance Jesus provided, can we name our hungers, and have faith we will be fed? Jesus has noticed the hungers of our world.  

We see South Africa’s needs right now and our own inadequacies as well. We shrug our shoulders and say, “We just don’t have enough to feed them!” But Jesus wants to address their hungers.  

Remember the little boy in the gospel story. He contributed all he had, the loaves and fishes, for the hungry crowd. His presence and what he did pose a question to us: what do I have, in materials, talents and conviction of faith, as little as they might seem, to share with others? 

From today’s Gospel reading: 

One of Jesus’ disciples…said to him, 

“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, 

but what good are these for so many?” 

Reflection: 

Like his disciples, we see the people’s needs and our own inadequacies as well. We shrug our shoulders and say, “We just don’t have enough to feed them!” But Jesus wants to address the hungers around us. He takes what few gifts we place at his disposal, our “barley loaves,” blesses them and feeds the hungry with them. 

So we ask ourselves: 

  • Think about these words from Ephesians: “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” What does this mean for me? 
  • What hungers are I being asked to address? 
  • What do I have to offer the Lord in service to feed those hungers? 

 

Leader: Monday is the Memorial of Saints Anne and Joachim. They are the parents of Mary, and so are the GRANDPARENTS of Jesus.  

 

Let us pray for God’s blessing upon all our grandparents: 

 

Lord Jesus, 

you were born of the Virgin Mary, 

the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne. 

Look with love on grandparents the world over. 

 

Protect them!  

They are a source of enrichment for families,  

for the Church and for all of society. 

Support them!  

As they grow older, 

may they continue to be for their families 

strong pillars of Gospel faith, 

guardian of noble domestic ideals, 

living treasuries of sound religious traditions. 

 

Make them  

teachers of wisdom and courage, 

that they may pass on to future generations the fruits 

of their mature human and spiritual experience. 

 

Lord Jesus, 

help families and society 

to value the presence and roles of grandparents. 

May they never be ignored or excluded, 

but always encounter respect and love. 

Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed 

in all the years of life which you give them. 

 

Mary, Mother of all the living, 

keep grandparents constantly in your care, 

accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage, 

and by your prayers, grant that all families 

may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland, 

where you await all humanity for the great 

embrace of life without end.  

Amen 

 

Prayer of the Faithful  

 

Leader: With trust in God’s faithful love for humanity, let us turn to the Lord in prayer. 

 

Reader: 

We pray for our leaders in the Church: (pause) that they may lead her to be a beacon of hope to respond to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. 

LORD HEAR US. 

 

We pray for South Africa: (pause) that the wisdom of  Holy Spirit may strengthen us as we rebuild our country after the politically motivated violence and looting. 

Lord Hear Us. 

 

We pray for the grace to bear with one another: (pause)  that God will give us patience and gentleness to bear with one another through our differences and limits so that we can help one another follow God’s call. 

LORD HEAR US. 

 

We pray for a spirit of generosity: (pause) that we may be free to share the blessings, the wisdom, and the hope God has given us with all who hunger and thirst for a fuller life 

LORD HEAR US 

 

We pray for the protection of the human family: (pause) that God will strengthen those who are working to defeat the Covid virus, speed resources to those in crisis, and bring healing to all who are sick. 

LORD HEAR US 

 

We pray for deceased members of our families and friends whose anniversaries occur about this time. 

LORD HEAR US 

 

We pray for Giovanni Santangelo, Marchello Palmer and Giovanni Ambrosi who died during the week.   

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord. 

 

And let perpetual light shine on them.  

May they rest in peace.  Amen  

 

 

Leader: Let us pray for peace in Southern Africa: 

 

O God of justice and love,
bless us the people of Southern Africa
and help us to live in your peace.
Lord,
make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love;
where there is injury let me sow pardon;
where there is discord
let me sow harmony.
Divine master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be understood, as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
to receive sympathy as to give it.
For it is in giving that we shall receive, 
in pardoning that we shall be pardoned,
in forgetting ourselves
that we shall find unending peace with others.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  

Amen.    

 

Spiritual Communion 

We can unite ourselves to the Eucharist through making a spiritual Communion. 

By making an Act of Spiritual Communion, we express our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist and ask him to unite himself with us.  

 

My Jesus, I believe you are really here in the Blessed Sacrament.
I love you more than anything in the world, and I hunger to receive you.
But since I cannot receive Communion at this moment, feed my soul spiritually. I unite myself to you now as I do when I receive you. Amen. 

 

 

 

CONCLUDING RITE 

 

Leader: Let us pray to the Father in the words Jesus our Saviour gave us:  

 

All say: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  Amen.
 

Leader: O God,
you open wide your hand,
giving us food in due season. 

Out of your never-failing abundance,
satisfy the hungers of body and soul
and lead all peoples of the earth
to the feast of the world to come. 

We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. 

 

All: Amen. 

 

Leader: May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. 

 

All: Amen.