Reflection: Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – 2K.4:42-44; Ps.144; 2nd Reading – Eph.4:1-6; Gospel – Jn.6:1-15]


I wonder what my own reaction would have been if I was in Jesus’ shoes and the crowd was about to propose to make me king: What an honour! What a privilege! It would not matter how they take me (i.e. by force or not) so long as I become king! How everyone would follow my every thought, word and action… How I would become an instant celebrity, and whatever I do or say, will be known by everyone, even if it is not important… nor for public domain for that matter!  One might be thinking: surely, had Jesus accepted their proposal and became their king, a lot of the problems (around lost time, lost lives, etc.) could have been avoided. However, this seems to be totally different to how Jesus perceived things.

We are told that the people: (1) saw the sign, (2) pronounced their judgement, (3) were going to take Jesus by force and, (4) were going to make him king.

Let’s take each point in turn: There are no problems with the first two points: everyone saw the signs that Jesus gave, and some of them pronounced their judgement about Him – either positive or negative. They recognised him as “the prophet who was to come into the world”.  However, points three and four are problematic: they were going to take Jesus by force and make Him king. It is not Jesus’/God’s custom to do things or constrain people to do something “by force”. God gives freedom to everyone so that those who go to Him do so through their own free will – because they want to! In Jesus they saw His Divine Power as a “Prophet” (as accustomed through the Old Testament) but wanted to give Him a Civil/State Power as a “King”.  No Prophet has ever become a King and no King was ever a Prophet. Kings had Prophets as counsellors who would speak to them in the name of God… But no Prophet became King! Jesus could have been the first if He accepted their offer! But not likely, for Jesus is already a King, though not of this world!!! The people recognised the prophet in Jesus whose “vocation” was therefore to speak God’s word. Furthermore the signs that He gave shows that He was the Son of God and therefore God. Jesus came in this world to become a “Son of Man” because he wanted to share everyone’s common life. Becoming a (civil) King was not his vocation because it would have hindered His output of Salvation. In truth the people were just thinking about themselves of having a “King” instead of thinking about Jesus as the “Prophet”!

And what about us? What is our vocation? What are we called for? Are we ready to eat the bread that He wants to give us and give Him the pieces left over (the fruit of our actions!) after we have eaten enough?! Are we ready to let Him tell us what we have to do, even if we do not fully understand Him?

Lord, we often stumble with difficulty to understand Your way of doing things. Sometimes You are straightforward. Sometimes You are seemingly enigmatic. It is not easy to follow what you tell us because we often hear what we want to hear and do what we want to do. Lord, give us the wisdom to discern what You truly want from us and in doing so we live according to our true vocation. Thank you Lord.”



Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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