I'm Catholic
Theology for the common man

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Sunday, July 25, 2021

Today we witness the miraculous multiplication of the bread for the thousands of hungry people gathered around Jesus who listen to Him. When talking about the miracles of Jesus, we must know that He did not perform them to satisfy human curiosity, nor to amaze their participants, because all this is a manifestation of human vanity and as a result of showing superiority over others and divisions. The miracles of Jesus are designed to show that God always protects us, giving us what we really need for dignified our life, that is, to be close to the Divine Source, because ultimately that's all that matters. These gospel healings and other miraculous interventions of God are meant to make us realize that God's presence is hidden behind suffering or other human poverty, and that in fact only God in Jesus Christ has an effective remedy: to restore God's original direction to creation. What is the point of healing or resurrecting someone if that someone will die later anyway? But once healed by God, he knows his Divine source because he has believed in God's saving power and will ultimately be with God. Today's miracle of the multiplication of the bread should be read from this perspective. The people who listened to the teachings of Jesus for long hours, so they were at God's source, did not remain without earthly food, because God himself took care of him in his time, providing him with food, based on modest human efforts: 5 loaves and 2 fish. God strengthened his people on the basis of what others could offer, multiplying their good many times over. This, of course, does not absolve people from the natural obligation to care for their basic existence and to do good. This is what the audience of today's Gospel passage did not understand, who wanted to make Jesus king because they thought they would have to do nothing and it would all come from above. In this perspective, let us not forget about our obligations to society and our doing good.