Loving Myself for Who I Am

July 25, 2021   Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Lectionary: 110)

Reading I   2 Kgs 4:42-44
A man came from Baal-shalishah bringing to Elisha, the man of God,
twenty barley loaves made from the firstfruits,
and fresh grain in the ear.
Elisha said, “Give it to the people to eat.”
But his servant objected,
“How can I set this before a hundred people?”
Elisha insisted, “Give it to the people to eat.”
“For thus says the LORD,
‘They shall eat and there shall be some left over.’”
And when they had eaten, there was some left over,
as the LORD had said.

Responsorial Psalm   Ps 145:10-11, 15-16, 17-18
R. (cf. 16) The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
Let all your works give you thanks, O LORD,
and let your faithful ones bless you.
Let them discourse of the glory of your kingdom
and speak of your might.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The eyes of all look hopefully to you,
and you give them their food in due season;
you open your hand
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.
The LORD is just in all his ways
and holy in all his works.
The LORD is near to all who call upon him,
to all who call upon him in truth.
R. The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.

Reading II   Eph 4:1-6
Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.

Alleluia   Lk 7:16
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
A great prophet has risen in our midst.
God has visited his people.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel   Jn 6:1-15
Jesus went across the Sea of Galilee.
A large crowd followed him,
because they saw the signs he was performing on the sick.
Jesus went up on the mountain,
and there he sat down with his disciples.
The Jewish feast of Passover was near.
When Jesus raised his eyes
and saw that a large crowd was coming to him,
he said to Philip,
“Where can we buy enough food for them to eat?”
He said this to test him,
because he himself knew what he was going to do.
Philip answered him,
“Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough
for each of them to have a little.”
One of his disciples,
Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to him,
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish;
but what good are these for so many?”
Jesus said, “Have the people recline.”
Now there was a great deal of grass in that place.
So the men reclined, about five thousand in number.
Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks,
and distributed them to those who were reclining,
and also as much of the fish as they wanted.
When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples,
“Gather the fragments left over,
so that nothing will be wasted.”
So they collected them,
and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments
from the five barley loaves
that had been more than they could eat.
When the people saw the sign he had done, they said,
“This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.”
Since Jesus knew that they were going to come and carry him off
to make him king,
he withdrew again to the mountain alone.

By Nick Sciarappa

I want to be loved for who I am. I don’t want to be loved for my productivity, for my attempts at holiness, for my abilities, or for my gifts and talents. I don’t want to be loved based on my successes or failures. But most of my experiences of love have been soured by a version of love that is conditional.

From childhood through adulthood, from good grades to a good salary, and from good social interactions to awkward ones, I find that my ability to perform is the measure by which I will receive love from many.

My heart longs for a love that is unconditional. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus feels that way.

Jesus had large crowds of people following him. Why? Because he was working healings.

Jesus’s followers proclaimed that Jesus was “truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world,” Why? Because he gave them food to eat when there was none.

Jesus’s followers wanted to make him king.

Why? Because he worked a miracle of multiplication of loaves and fishes.

Just before his followers could proclaim Jesus as an earthly king, Jesus retreated to a mountain to escape a conditional expression of love.

Many times in the Gospel Jesus tells his disciples not to speak of his many miracles, and I think the reason is clear: Jesus wants to be loved for who he is, not what he does. God models for us, through his son Jesus, that true love is offered not as a result of actions, but as a result of identity.

My hope is that if I start loving Jesus for who he is, I can accept his love for me for who I am, and give love selflessly to others for who they are.


Nick Sciarappa is the Director of Youth Ministry at Sts. John and Paul Parish in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. He’s worked for the church in many capacities including as a journalist at the National Catholic Reporter, and as the digital Media Strategist for the Diocese of Pittsburgh. Nick produces “Clerically Speaking” a podcast where two Catholic priests talk about the priestly life that you don’t see at Mass.  Nick is married to his illustrious wife Riley, and thinks she is pretty neat. Follow Nick on Twitter and tweet something funny at him

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