Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B, Catechist

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Catechist Background and Preparation
To prepare for this session, read all the readings.

2 Kings 4:42-44
Psalm 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
Ephesians 4:1-6
John 6:1-15

Spend a few minutes reflecting on what these readings mean for you today. Is there a particular reading that appeals to you? Is there a word or image that engages you?

Read the following Word in Liturgy and Catholic Doctrine sections. Read the Word in Liturgy and Catholic Doctrine sections. These give you background on what you will be doing this session. Read over the session outline and make it your own. Check to see what materials you will need.

The Word In Liturgy
For the next five weeks the Lectionary interrupts its reading from the gospel of Mark and inserts Chapter 6 of John's gospel, almost in its entirety. Chapter 6 is very carefully constructed along the familiar Johannine lines of miracle-dialogue-discourse. Today's reading contains the narrative of the first miracle, that of the loaves, which is foundational to the entire chapter. This is the only miracle found in all four gospels.

Today's first reading from 2 Kings contains a miracle story clearly chosen for use today because of its parallels to the gospel reading. The emphasis in this narrative is on the efficacy of the Word of the Lord delivered through the mouth of the prophet. A further motif of some importance is the concern of Jesus (and of those attuned to his will) for the poor and hungry of the land. The fact that the feeding results in food being left over became an important symbol of the abundance that would characterize the messianic era. All of these elements provide a rich background for the narrative in today's gospel.

Catholic Doctrine
Unity of the Church and Ecumenism
We Catholics hold that the Church is characterized by unity because its very source is one. That source, the Trinity, is comprised of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who are intimately united, three persons in one God. Unity is a gift from above, through the Holy Spirit, and is of the very essence of the household of faith, the people of God, who are bound together spiritually as one body in Christ .The Nicene Creed makes reference to this oneness. Every Sunday in the liturgical assembly Catholics profess their faith through the creed. We proclaim our belief in the unity of the Church: "We believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church..."

The significance of the characteristic of Church unity is that to be fully what the Church is meant to be, believers must maintain harmony and union among themselves. Every divisive inclination or practice must be minimized. There is no place for prejudice or factionalism within the Church. Overcoming division-at every level-is a pressing task because unity is an essential mark of the Church.

Posted in: Sessions B