Seventeenth Sunday of Ordinary Time – Year B

John F. McAtee, O.S.A.
Church of St. Mary Waterford, New York

2 Kgs 4:42-44
Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
Eph 4:1-6
Jn 6:1-15

How can so little suffice for so many? There are many times when I wished that I had more money to give to someone or in someway to give that person something which would be of value, but we are limited in what we can, because there is no time to prepare or opportunity to do more.

I remember one occasion when I had given money to a person and that person complained that the amount was not enough for what he needed. I explained that was all that I had and perhaps he could ask another person to help. He did not like that suggestion and continued to insist that I give him more. I was annoyed and felt like telling him off. But I once again said that was all the money I had to give, so please do what you can with that amount, and excused myself.

In the Gospel story Jesus provided the solution by performing a miracle. I cannot perform that kind of miracle or any other kind of miracle, but I thought that I did offer the possibility of a solution. I only hope that the person followed through and was able to get what he needed.

Obviously we cannot solve everyone’s difficulties, but it is necessary that we be open to reaching to do what we are able to do.

As fathers, mothers, friends, and relatives, there will be many impositions made on us, so it is important that we learn that there are many ways in which we can respond that are acceptable to the person making the request and to not overburdening ourselves.


How can so little suffice for so many? We would to be able to help others, but when we are sincere in our efforts to reach out, we must be aware of the limits of our own capabilities.

The people we are trying to help, not to please, will be able to accept what we are doing for them. The “little” that we are doing will suffice for them.