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Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B

Reflecting on Jn. 6: 1-15

Remember Joey on Friends? He loved women, would do anything he could think of to attract them, and was thrilled to take a beautiful woman out to dinner. Unless, of course, she tried to taste anything on his plate, or share his French fries.

I don’t share food! he would shout. This was his non-negotiable. She could have anything of his that she wanted. But she couldn’t have his food.

We live in a culture of abundance, but we buy into the myth of scarcity. So what if she shared his dessert? He could always buy another one, and they could share that too. But Joey was loathe to venture out of his unconscious fear of not getting enough.  Even if it meant insulting his beautiful date, some things were just sacrosanct. When it comes to food, what’s mine is mine.

Protecting our food source is, of course, one of the strongest drives of the unconscious. And into that primordial pull steps Jesus, who says, “Have the people recline.” For just that moment, the five thousand who crossed the lake to find him would not be forced to leave because they were hungry. They could stay, reclining on the “green grass” so reminiscent of their beloved Psalm 23, “He makes me lie down in green pastures.”

Ah. So Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Jesus feeds his flock. After he blesses the five loaves and two fish―such a miserable catch for the enormous crowd― the myth of scarcity dissolves in front of their eyes. All are fed. There is plenty of bread.

There are more than enough resources in this world for all to be fed. Only then can we truly be friends.

Have you ever noticed that you eat less when you are enjoying the companionship of friends?

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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).

Ordinary Time - Cycle B

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