17th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 26th July, 2015

"Praise Be to You, My Lord"

"Laudato si', mi' Signore"

With these words from the beautiful canticle of St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis opens his recent encyclical on the care for God's creation.

 In it he reminds us that God created the world and entrusted it to us as a gift. We do not own it. Regretfully as a result of excessive exploitation of natural resource by wealthy nations, those who are poor experience poverty, pollution, lack of access to clean water, hunger and disease. We are one human family and we have the responsibility to eradicate this abuse and to protect, cherish and care for the earth and to ensure a true and viable home for all people and for future generations.

God asks us who live in the first world to share our providential resources just as Jesus asked his disciples to distribute the bread he had provided. We have our part to play. We may think ourselves to be insignificant players but we can learn a big lesson from the little boy in today's gospel.

Jesus and his disciples had a problem - a tired, hungry crowd-and nothing to feed them. Then the child stepped up and offered his own lunch. Jesus took what the boy gave and worked wonders with it. In the end, everyone in the crowd got more than they needed. Without the child's contribution, the miracle would not have happened.

Today God needs us to bring about the miracle on earth. It is not given to us to perform miracles like Elisha and Jesus but perhaps that is as it should be. In a world where there is so much need, we have a great deal to give. It may not seem like much to us but when it is shared it becomes more than we can ever imagine.

The miracles worked by Jesus and Elisha needed someone to come along and offer what they had. God still needs us to do the same and still guarantees that, if we do, things will happen!

The eyes of all creatures look to you and you give them their food in due time.

The Lord is not stinting in his response. His hands are opened wide but He looks to us and wants us to play our part. Perhaps we should examine our conscience?

The Lord is just in all his ways .... are we?
The Lord is loving in all his deeds .... are we?
The Lord opens wide his hand .... are we?

Fr. Kevin O'Shea, C.M.