The Sunday Liturgy Commentary

17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 29th July, 2018

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

Theme: The Hand of the Lord feeds us.




We hear in the First Reading, Elisha insisted “Give it to the people to eat, for thus says the Lord, They shall eat and there shall be some left over” (2Kg 4:43). This beautiful little tradition prefigures the miraculous feeding of the Gospel. The bread is multiplied to feed the poor. Earlier in (2Kg 4:1-7) tells of the widow who, like the widow of Zarephath (1Kg 17:7-16) has only a small jar of oil, but its amount multiplies so that she is able to fill all the empty vessels she can find. It also echoes something in the Gospel of Mathew, “you have received freely, give  it freely”(Mt10:8-10). Elisha, upon seeing the supplies, did not hesitate but commanded  the man to give the food so that others may eat.


In the Second Reading, St. Paul, writing from prison, strongly encouraged the congregation of Ephesus to preserve unity. In verse 3 and 4, “Make every effort to keep among you the unity of Spirit through bonds of peace. Let there be one body and one spirit, for God, in calling you, gave the same Spirit to all”. Paul is also reminding us, “Be humble, kind, patient, and bear with one another in love. Make every effort to keep among you the unity of Spirit, through bonds of peace”. To be humble, kind and bear with one another in love, is the meaning of the sharing of the hundred people of the food from the man from Baal-shalishah. Making every effort to keep among you the unity of Spirit, through bonds of love, is the very essence of that meal fellowship in the first Reading.


The Psalm for today is psalm 145, with our Response; “The hand of the Lord feeds us, he answers all our needs”. Derek Kidner in Psalms 73-150, mentioned Psalm 145 as “An Alphabet of Praise” (pg. 480), as Psalm 145 is one the acrostics psalms. Psalm 145 has 21 verses and the Hebrew alphabet with 22 letters, perhaps that is why the letter (nun) was lacking. Other sources are saying, subsequent editing has destroyed the perfect acrostic arrangement of several of the psalms. The Ashrei, (translating, “happy” or “praiseworthy”) is a prayer composed primarily from psalm 145 in its entirety is recited at least three times daily in Jewish prayers. Ashrei yoshvei veitaecha, od y’hallelucha, selah! (Happy are they who dwell in Your house; they will praise You, always!).


In our Gospel reading, we are reminded of the dry desert wilderness, as Moses fed the people with miraculous manna, the Lord Jesus, the new Moses, re-creates that ancient desert wonder and feeds the crowds in the wilderness. Like Elisha (First Reading), Jesus does not have enough, but he calls upon the generosity of collaborators. The “small boy” was certainly generous to give up his meal when asked for it.


For Reflection and Discussion: 1. How do miracles speak to you? 2. The hand of the Lord feeds us, how? How does the Lord fulfils our longing and desires? 4. How does Psalm 145 speak to you?


Bibliography: The Jerusalem Bible-Popular Edition, Darton, Longman &Todd Ltd 1974., New Saint Joseph Sunday Missal.,  Palms 73 – 150 A commentary on Books 111 -V of the Psalms by Derek Kinder.


This week’s teaching commentary was prepared by

Aliki A Langi, Australia, Bat Kol alumni 2005 and 2018


[Copyright © 2018]



PLEASE NOTE: The weekly Gospel commentaries represent the research and creative thought of their authors, and are meant to stimulate deeper thinking about the meaning of the Sunday Scriptures. While they draw upon the study methods and sources employed by the Bat Kol Institute, the views and conclusions expressed in these commentaries are solely those of their authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Bat Kol.  Questions, comments and feedback are always welcome.



Bat Kol Institute for Jewish Studies, Jerusalem


Christians Studying the Bible within its Jewish milieu, using Jewish Sources.

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