Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 25 July 2021

“Give it to the people to eat”, so said Elisha, the man of God.

Our Gospel story today is set in the context of the coming feast of Passover. Jesus, the disciples, and the people would all be aware of the coming feast and holiday season. Etched in their collective memory were the great deeds of their liberating God working, as it were, hand in hand with Moses. We are exposed, today, to the new Moses sitting on yet another mountain.

Something had to happen.

It did, enough to elicit a spontaneous move to make him King.

Abundance. Yet again the new agent of the True God fulfilled the ancient memories of that fabled journey out of Egypt. Not only liberated from slavery but fed in abundance each and every day of their long march. Here, today, again, abundance…., “Giving out as much as was wanted.”

No such abundance offered to NSW by the other States in recent days, even if we are all in this together. So much for Commonwealth.

Often in the gospel, Jesus is seen as a messenger bringing hope to people, so oppressed in their society at that time. He not only “cured the sick” as in today’s reading but was an agent of peace. “Your sins are forgiven”, “Has no one condemned you?”, “Do you love me?” to recall some instances. Real conflicts are not found only on the battlefields. There are many conflicts, in a sense, right here on the grass. Sit down. Let me feed you in mind and body. We will find peace and satisfaction together. And we will do it, not in a miserly way, but in abundance.

So, the lesson is heard again today. Maybe after all the years of hearing this story, we may yet again miss like Philip and Andrew, the point. Take comfort. In time they understood.

Never begrudge hospitality. Make sure there is some left over. You might yet entertain angels in the unexpected guests.

Mons Frank.