Begin with a few moments of quiet.
The intention is to open yourself to the presence of God within you and among those gathered.
Invite all present to sit comfortably.
When sitting comfortably, take three deep breaths, as you breathe in feel your lungs filling all the way up, when they are full slowly release your breath and feel your lungs emptying out fully. Repeat this three times.
Now return to breathing normally and make the sign of the cross:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Invite each person present to take a few moments to reflect on:
Where in the past week did I encounter God in my life?
Where in the past week did I inhibit God in my life?
Allow time in quiet for this and then, after a few moments, invite those present to share on this, if they are comfortable to do so.
If you like to have some quiet music playing during this click below.
Introduce the Gospel
This is the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The multiplication of the loaves generates many levels of meaning, often deeply spiritual. At a more ordinary level, we see an anonymous boy with the bread and fish making available what little he had for the Lord to make use of them. Placing ourselves
at his disposal, offering whatever gifts we have is all that is asked of each of us.
From Kieran O’Mahony Hearers of the Word for this Sunday
Read the Gospel – John 6:1-15
Read the Gospel aloud, even if you are on your own.
Jesus went off to the other side of the Sea of Galilee – or of Tiberias – and a large crowd followed him, impressed by the signs he gave by curing the sick. Jesus climbed the hillside, and sat down there with his disciples. It was shortly before the Jewish feast of Passover.
Looking up, Jesus saw the crowds approaching and said to Philip, ‘Where can we buy some bread for these people to eat?’ He only said this to test Philip; he himself knew exactly what he was going to do. Philip answered, ‘Two hundred denarii would only buy enough to give them a small piece each.’ One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said, ‘There is a small boy here with five barley loaves and two fish; but what is that between so many?’ Jesus said to them, ‘Make the people sit down.’ There was plenty of grass there, and as many as five thousand men sat down. Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and gave them out to all who were sitting ready; he then did the same with the fish, giving out as much as was wanted. When they had eaten enough he said to the disciples, ‘Pick up the pieces left over, so that nothing gets wasted.’ So they picked them up, and filled twelve hampers with scraps left over from the meal of five barley loaves. The people, seeing this sign that he had given, said, ‘This really is the prophet who is to come into the world.’ Jesus, who could see they were about to come and take him by force and make him king, escaped back to the hills by himself.
Reflect on the Gospel using Imaginative Prayer
Sit quietly now for a few moments and allow the images created by hearing the Gospel to emerge. Use some quietening music again if you wish.
When you are ready, move onto reflecting on what took place in the Gospel, either sitting with the passage and your own reflection on it or using one or ore of the following prompts for reflection arising form the Gospel.
- At the heart of this story we are told that Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks and distributed them. In our day this reminds us of the Eucharist, the bread of life with which Jesus feeds us. By sharing the bread and wine in the Eucharist we symbolise our unity with one another and with God. Can you recall a particular Eucharist that was especially nourishing for you. What was it that made it different?
- Take, give thanks, distribute. The actions of Jesus also suggest an attitude to time, gifts and living. We take what we are given, give thanks, and use what we have. Have you found that having a grateful heart for what you have been given has made it easier for you to share with others?
- From what seemed meagre and inadequate resources many were fed. When have you found that when you gratefully use what little resources you have the results are beyond your expectations?
- Jesus chose to involve those around him in feeding the people. Have there been times when you have experienced benefits from calling on those around you to use their gifts to help with a task?
Close the time of Prayer with the Our Father
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come,
thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
Take a moment now to bring to mind those you want to share peace with, family, friends, those where your relationship is broken.
Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil,
graciously grant peace in our days,
that, by the help of your mercy,
we may be always free from sin
and safe from all distress,
as we await the blessed hope
and the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen
Fr. Kieran O’Mahony offers a scriptural analysis on the Readings in written or on video.
The Spirit of God is seeking to create a newness in our lives, that calls us to a fresh wholeness that requires much letting go of what we have known, and co-creating with God an undreamt-of future for our church, for our world and for ourselves. This does not mean forgetting the past, which has brought us to the present.
The Gospel life is about a new future in God. In an incarnational, evolutionary universe nothing is complete and God is still creating. We are a central part of this creation which is happening in our midst.