Daily Archives: July 30, 2006

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We get the miracle of the loaves & fishes today.

First up is a mighty interesting reading from Second Kings. A man brings to Elisha twenty barley loaves, and Elisha says to give it to the people to eat, despite the man’s protests that it’s not nearly enough for the hundred people. But Elisha insists that, and indeed there is, enough and then some. There’s some left over after they have eaten.

This of course prefigures pretty much the same scene in the Gospel. Or, actually, Gospels. We hear today from St. John, but it’s in all four Gospels, apparently the only miracle recounted in all four. (It also seems to be in St. Mark and St. Matthew twice each.) And even though it’s Year B, with lots of readings from St. Mark. And despite the fact that this miracle is in St. Mark. And despite the fact that we kinda left off last week, with Christ moved with pity by the crowd, a sheep without a shepherd, in St. Mark, and then this miracle is recounted immediately thereafter. But, still, we switch to St. John.

I’ve mentioned before what a big fan I am of the readings when they can tie Old Testament to New Testament. This is a classic example. Although St. Paul is really off message in his epistle. No loaves, no fishes. Although he specifically counsels humility, patience, and gentleness, traits I’ve been sorely lacking recently. Paul wags his finger a lot, but oh sometimes I sure do need it.

Deacon Rice reads the Gospel from the high pulpit, so we know that he’s going to give the homily as well. And it’s a satisfying sort of one for me, with the idea that we produce quite enough food in this world to feed everyone, (thirty-five hundred calories a day for everyone, says he). Problem of course is distribution, with getting it to those who are in need. It’s not the fault of this beautiful bounty that the Lord provides for us, it’s our system, or systems, that are at fault. It’s us.

And this of course makes me think of the collapse of the Doha round this week. All due to the agricultural subsidies. And the US blames the EU and the EU blames the US. And in the meantime people in the developing world are starving, subsistence farmers can’t even subsist. Although some quarters are cheering the collapse, thinking that the rich countries will game the system no matter what, that despite the stated purpose of making things fairer for developing countries, things would just get worse under Doha. I plead ignorance as usual as to the subtleties of trade policy, but note that it’s of course a truism that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The rich will always win, will always run the table, and maybe even steal your wallet while you’re not looking.