Even fragments matter

Last week, Jesus and his disciples went looking for a lonely place away from the crowds. Mark told us that Jesus was so busy looking after people and caring for their needs through mighty works of healing that neither he nor his disciples had time for rest or even to eat. So they jump in a boat to go further around the lake, but the crowd beats them to the spot. When they come ashore and Jesus sees the crowd, he has compassion on them, for they seem like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus sets about teaching them at some length.

Today in the Gospel, we jump from Mark’s version of the story to the same place in the Gospel of John. We will stay in John’s story for the next 5 weeks, until the 21st Sunday. Jesus has taught them and now asks a question of the disciples via Philip. He answers that even if they had 200 denarii – which clearly they don’t, since they don’t even have money to buy their own food – that would only be enough to give each scraps. The evangelist turns to the reader and lets us in on a secret: dear reader, Jesus knows what he will do, but he asks the question as a test. Andrew (perhaps in his own hunger) has spotted a small boy for a lunch that he can pinch share: five small, cheap loaves and a couple of fish: but what is that among so many. For Jesus though, this is more than enough. Make the people sit down. There was plenty of grass in this place, since it is springtime, just before the Passover.

Jesus takes, he blesses and he gives. In the other Gospels, it is the disciples who do the work of sharing. Here, Jesus ministers directly to every person.

Then he provides an odd direction: collect all of the pieces and do not let any of the scraps be wasted. In the Gospel of the Kingdom, even fragments matter.

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Seventeenth Sunday, Year B

  • First Reading ‡ 2 Kings 4:42-44 They will eat and have some left over.
  • Responsorial ‡ Psalm 144:10-11.15-18 The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
  • Second Reading ‡ Ephesians 4:1-6 There is one body, one Lord, one faith, one baptism.
  • Gospel ‡ John 6:1-15 He distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted.

Prayer for Grandparents and Elders

Loving God,
thank you for our grandparents, 
those who care for us, 
those who are like grandparents to us, 
and those we look up to. 

We have been enriched 
by having them in our lives.
We are grateful for their guidance, care, and love 
and the many opportunities 
of growth, joy, and comfort. 

Jesus, bless all grandparents, 
elderly friends, carers, and mentors
– especially during this period of lockdown and isolation –
for they are special people in our lives.

You said to your disciples, 
“I am with you always.” 
We pray that you continue to be with them,
especially in times of frailty and ageing, 
in times of joy and new life. 

Keep them hopeful and happy, 
and may their hearts remain 
open to your love.

Lord, remember our loved ones 
who have died and are in your loving care. 
May they delight in your presence and love 
and their memory remain in our hearts and lives. 
For them we are grateful!

Keep us all safe at this time,
and draw us closer into your loving presence
through the work and gift of Jesus your Son,
and in the power of your holy Spirit.


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