News from St Mary the Virgin, Kenton on Saturday 24th & Sunday 25th July 2021: The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
This Sunday, the Good News from John's Gospel recounts the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. It is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded in all four Gospels, although there are some variations in each of the accounts. However, it is clear that this event is not entirely dissimilar to Moses feeding the Israelites with Manna provided by God in the desert (Exodus 16). Jesus has the ability to provide the food, just as Manna rained down from heaven in the Old Testament account. Yet he takes five barley loaves and two fish. The barley loaves may well be a reference to Sunday's First Reading from the Second Book of Kings as Elisha tells his servant to “Give it to the people to eat”. When the multitude have been fed and the disciples collected up the scraps, they filled twelve baskets. Not surprisingly, this is also thought to reference the twelve tribes of Israel. The miracle clearly has several very strong references to the Old Testament, confirming Jesus as the Messiah, God's annointed one.
We know that food is never far from the news headlines, whether it is the provision of food on our supermarket shelves as the pandemic affects the delivery networks or the provision of lunches during the school summer holidays for those children who would usually receive free school meals. The Trussell Trust, who support a nationwide network of Foodbanks across the UK (including our local one in Harrow) have been providing emergency food parcels to over two million people since the start of the pandemic. It it difficult to understand how, as a nation, we can have so many families living in food poverty. We do usually support our local Foodbank at Harvest time, but if you are able to support them throughout the year details are available on their web-site www.trusselltrust.org/get-involved/ways-to-give/
As we move cautiously out of the full lockdown restrictions, we must continue to be careful. The Coronavirus is not going away and we are having to learn to live with it. That means keeping a check on our own health and self-isolating if you feel unwell; continuing to wear face masks in certain circumstances (and you are strongly encouraged to do so when coming to church); to sanitise hands; to keep a reasonable distance from those who are not members of your household – all common sense mitigation to reduce the spread of the virus and to keep one another safe. The first Mass of Sunday will be at 6.00pm on Saturday 24th July. Parish Mass at 10.30am on Sunday 25th July. Come and be fed by Jesus, who is the Bread of Life.