Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Engaging Faith | Mon, Jul 27, 2009

By John Bucki, SJ
Source: Center of Concern

Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time [b]

July 26, 2009


2 Kings 4:42-44

Ephesians 4:1-6

John 6:1-15


July 31: Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus

August 1: Feast of Alphonsus Ligouri, founder of the Redemptorists


If there is hunger anywhere in the world, then our celebration of the Eucharist is somehow incomplete everywhere in the world."

Pedro Arrupe, SJ

The hungry nations of the world cry out to the peoples blessed with abundance. And the Church, cut to the quick by this cry, asks each and every person to hear his or her brother's or sister's plea and answer it lovingly.  

Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 3

Our nation has been blessed with great freedom, vibrant democratic traditions, unprecedented economic strengths, abundant natural resources, and a generous and religious people. Yet not all is right with our nation. Our prosperity does not reach far enough. Our culture does not lift us up; instead it may bring us down in moral terms. This new world we lead is still too dangerous, giving rise to ethnic cleansing and an inability to confront hunger and genocide. We are still falling short of the American pledge of "liberty and justice for all," our declaration to defend the inalienable rights of the person--"life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

U.S. Bishops, Faithful Citizenship: Civic Responsibility for a New Millennium

Feed the hungry (cf. Mt 25: 35, 37, 42) is an ethical imperative for the universal Church, as she responds to the teachings of her Founder, the Lord Jesus, concerning solidarity and the sharing of goods. Moreover, the elimination of world hunger has also, in the global era, become a requirement for safeguarding the peace and stability of the planet. Hunger is not so much dependent on lack of material things as on shortage of social resources, the most important of which are institutional. What is missing, in other words, is a network of economic institutions capable of guaranteeing regular access to sufficient food and water for nutritional needs, and also capable of addressing the primary needs and necessities ensuing from genuine food crises, whether due to natural causes or political irresponsibility, nationally and internationally.

Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 27

Thoughts for your consideration

Large numbers of people in our world suffer from some form of "food insecurity."  For many reasons too many people are going hungry.  At the same time, in our world as a whole, there is no shortage of food. Many people don't have the means to buy the food they need or to raise their own food. 

Our religious faith invites us to address this problem.  Many of our churches support food pantries or soup kitchens.  Many groups work to share food with those in need in other parts of the world.

Our faith invites us to address the problems of the world that cause people to be hungry.  Wonderfully, we work together to address issues that keep people hungry. We look at issues like monetary policy, trade rules, land reform, sweatshops, working conditions, the rights of farm workers, the role of women in agriculture, the role of large corporations and governments in food policies, and many others issues. We believe that all of our institutions and rules must put people first and allow all people to have access to enough food.

The scriptures today remind us of God's desire for all people to share in the bounty of food produced in our world. In the stories about Elisha and Jesus, everyone ends up with more than enough to eat.  The problem in our world is not one of scarcity but of distribution.  There is enough for all.  The miracle of the scriptures is a miracle of sharing - a miracle of distribution - a miracle of justice for the whole community of hungry people. With the vision of Paul in the second reading, we are invited to make real the call to be "one body and one Spirit."

Questions for Reflection in your Faith Sharing Group

How has the recession effected your ability to get enough good food in your family? 

How has the recession increased hunger and homelessness in your part of the world?


When have you experienced the sharing of food among a large group of people?

Was there enough?  What was the spirit of the event? 

Actions - Links
The Children's Defense Fund is asking people to email their Congress people about how the proposed health reform legislation will effect children and may even make their coverage worse.  To find out more and send a email, go to

Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical, Caritas in Veritate ("Charity in truth") was signed by the Holy Father on June 29, 2009 and was released to the public on Tuesday, July 7. It is available at:

"Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad."  Find out more at   Their offering of letters effort this year is supporting H.R. 2139 - The Initiating Foreign Assistance Reform Act of 2009. For more info about this effort to reduce poverty and hunger around the world go to
"Crazy facts"

In June the FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) reported that "world hunger is projected to reach a historic high in 2009 with 1 020 million people going hungry every day."

Bread for the World writes: "The United Nations Development Program estimates that the basic health and nutrition needs of the world's poorest people could be met for an additional $13 billion a year. Animal lovers in the United States and Europe spend more than that on pet food each year."

Prayers of Intercession
Response: Lord, help us work together for justice.

For all those who are suffering from hunger today, we pray....

For all farmers and farmworkers who do not have the land, resources, and opportunities to produce the food which they and the world need, we pray....

For those without employment and income so as to buy the food they need for themselves and their families, we pray.....

For government officials and political leaders that they may advance policies and programs that will help everyone to get enough to eat, we pray....

For those who own and manage the corporations and farms that produce our food, we pray.....

Prayer - Meditation

A prayer for thanksgiving and sharing

            Thanks for the abundance, help up to share

            Thanks for the water that helps all to grow, help us to share.

            Thanks for the land that allows us to plant, help us to share.

            Thanks for the air that lets us all breathe, help us to share.

            Thanks for the knowledge that lets us produce, help us to share it.

            Thank for the seeds that allow us to plant, help us to share them.

            Thanks for the harvest that we have been given, help us to share it.

            Thanks for the transportation that we may move our food, help us to share.

            Thanks for the Spirit that lets us share all that we are.  Amen.


The Prayer for Peace began to circulate in 1981 in England. Its source is not clearly known, and it has no ties with any single denomination or faith.  It can be found in various languages at r faith.

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