Sunday after next

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

July 28, 2024


Discover the deeper meaning and connections found in this weeks' readings, through these great commentaries written by our priests.

The Word

Explore this weeks' readings and hear what God is saying to us through His Word.

Liturgy notes

Find out more about how we can mark this special day in our liturgy.


See our music recommendations for the liturgy.


Canon Gerard Flynn

Where would you be in the crowd around Jesus?

At the front? hemmed in, in the middle? at the back, straining to hear?

When the bread and the fish are handed to you, how far have they travelled?

Who hands food to you? Receiving it, what do you do?

Andrew points Jesus to the boy.

Imagine a scene.

The boy, with his mother and father, has an older sister and a younger brother too.

Jesus gives thanks for the food and gives it out.

I see our boy, the one spotted by Andrew, hand some directly to his own family.


The oldest, the girl, takes it and straightaway passes it to someone behind.

She keeps on doing that until no-one else needs any.

She then eats her own share.

The younger lad is hungry and tired.

But he is at a particular age.

He is beginning to realise that other people in the world, beside himself, need things.

He admires and imitates his older sister and brother: he wants to be like them.

He tries to do whatever they do.

So, after one hungry moment’s gaze, he passes his share back.

He joins the chain of giving.

He feels really good about if, even if he is still hungry!

Mother, father and three children; all help in feeding more than five thousand.

A thousand people each, give or take, are better off because of that family.

Only then do they tuck in themselves.


What of the food on its way right to the back?

How many people let their hunger get the better of them, snaffling it as soon as they can?

How many pass on a small share, eyes carefully open for a bigger share for themselves?

How many pass it on, holding it gingerly so as not to damage it, keeping it clean?

How many pass it on with a smile and a nod; It’s my pleasure, in reply to any thanks?

How many of the crowd say any word of gratitude?

How many take their meal for granted?


Whereabouts are you in that crowd?

How have you given … and how have you received?

How willingly did you pass on the food, patiently awaiting yours?

How gratefully did you thank those who passed it to you?

There’s a great grace in giving … there’s also a great grace in receiving well.

Where might I have been in that crowd; how would I have behaved?

Would I have measured up to St Paul’s message?

Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience.

We approve of those qualities. They are great in principle … when they are not really needed.

They come into their own when we are in a crowd:

when we are tired and hungry,

when we see other people between us and what we want,

when we are stuck in traffic, or a shopping queue,

on a crowded train or a packed and noisy waiting room;

charity, selflessness, gentleness and patience.


The way that we are with people affects the way that they are with others later on.

If we treat people in the crowds of our own lives with charity and selflessly,

with gentleness and patience, chances are that they will do the same to others.

At Mass we are at the front of the crowd.

We couldn’t be closer to Jesus.

He gives Himself to us.

We receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

We receive God’s blessing.

Now, turn towards the whole crowd.

Everybody we meet this week, when we go from the altar,

should feel the effects of our charity, selflessness, gentleness and patience.

They should see these signs of Jesus; in whose name we hand them on.

Where am I in that crowd? How do I pass on the gifts that God gives to me?

 Whereabouts are you in that crowd?






Liturgy notes

Fr Derek Reeve

Although today marks the beginning of a five week departure from the reading of Mark’s Gospel to read chapter six of John’s Gospel which is all about the Eucharist the reading from the Letter to the Ephesians might be a useful introduction to reflection on the Eucharist.

The reading emphasises what characterises the Christian community. It is one.

In the penitential rite this could be the theme:

‘It is our weekly gathering together to celebrate the Eucharist

that binds us together and makes us one.

As we prepare to celebrate the Eucharist today

let’s think for a moment about this

and ask ourselves how united we truly are.’

(Leave time for the people to think about this before we sing or say the Kyrie.)


Lord Jesus,

you have made us one body in our baptism

and we so often fail to recognise that we are one,

called to love one another as brothers and sisters.

Lord have mercy or Kyrie eleison (preferably sung.)


Christ Jesus,

you call us to bear with one another charitably,

in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience

and we have failed to live as you ask us.

Christ, have mercy or Christe eleison.


Lord Jesus,

forgive us our failings

and grant that gathered around your Table

and nourished by your presence

we may go out to live more fully a life worthy of our calling.

Lord, have mercy or Kyrie eleison.  



Music recommendations

Note: These hymns have been chosen from different sources.

One bread, one body (CFE578, L832, LHON538)

Thy hand, O God, has guided (CFE741, L876, LHON690, TCH188)

Here in this place (Gather us in) (CFE253, L475, LHON327)

O praise our great and gracious Lord (CFE548, L664)

See us, Lord, about thine altar (CFE631, L648, LHON606, TCH111)

Bless the Lord, my soul (Taize) (CFE81, L813)


CFE - Celebration Hymnal for Everyone

L – Laudate

LHON – Liturgical Hymns Old and New (Mayhew, 1999)

TCH – The Catholic Hymnbook (Gracewing)

Any questions?

Do you have questions about the liturgy and how we are called to participate in it? Explore how the Church councils, saints, and popes have answered this key question and many more.

Discover the Mass

Every movement of the Mass is rich in meaning but we can become over familiar with it. Rediscover the Mass and explore how it relates to the Exodus story, where many of its rituals come from, and how it makes Jesus present to us today.