Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

In this Sunday’s Gospel the Apostle Philip has always intrigued me. He’s seldom in the limelight, but in John’s Gospel he’s often there. He shows up in chapters 1, 12, and 14, as well as here in chapter 6, where Jesus asks his opinion about how to feed the enormous crowd. I wonder whether Philip was the source for this account of the multiplication of the loaves.

This is a meditation on this Gospel from one of my sisters:

“Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.”

One of the outstanding details in John’s account is Jesus’ command to gather the fragments of bread, lest anything be wasted. (The Synoptics simply state that the fragments were collected.) It has been pointed out that this refers to the Eucharistic species and the reverence due to it. I think this command can also serve as a reminder not to waste.

In an affluent culture it’s easy to be wasteful without even realizing it. We might be careful to recycle containers and conscientious about food, drink, and even clothes, but then there are electricity, water, and even time . . .

I can remember Blessed James Alberione, the founder of our religious congregation, pointing out the importance of the good use of time. Soon after I entered the convent, he did this in a new year’s message.

Most of us spend much time running errands, commuting and/or waiting (for a bus to arrive, a computer to warm up, traffic lights to change, supper to cook . . .). Part of this time can be spent tuning in to the Lord. As I write this I am traveling in an interstate bus. A few minutes ago on an elevated stretch of highway we passed through an area where church steeples rose on all sides, signaling the presence of the Eucharist—Jesus in the midst of his people. I’m sure the Lord is pleased when we remember that he’s as truly present here among us now as he was on that green hillside where he multiplied the loaves.

If you have enjoyed this meditation, you’ll find meditations on all the Gospels of Ordinary Time in:  Ordinary Grace Weeks 1-17

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