Sunday, August 12
Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
John 6: 41 – 51
The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said,
“I am the bread that came down from heaven, ”
and they said,
“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?
Do we not know his father and mother?
Then how can he say,
‘I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Stop murmuring among yourselves.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The people grumbling in the Gospel showed them to be of the same spirit as that displayed by their fathers in the wilderness who complained before and after the manna was provided to them. Jesus contrasts the bread that he offers, which leads to eternal life, with the bread of their ancestors who died in the wilderness without seeing the Promised Land. Jesus promises that those who eat of the spiritual bread will never die.
In our world today, there is a terrible spiritual poverty in many people and they don’t know what’s wrong in their lives. They are searching to find some kind of meaning, some kind of depth to their lives but they don’t know where to look. Jesus, however, tells us where to look. He tells us that he is the only one who can satisfy this emptiness in us.
Friends, we need to ask ourselves, “What are our hungers?” “Where have we gone to satisfy those hungers and where have those choices led us?” Fortunately for us, Jesus provides us an alternative that is healthier for us both physically and spiritually. Jesus states that he is “the bread of life” and that those who believe in him will have their spiritual hunger satisfied.
When we take part in the breaking of bread during the Eucharist, we receive the spiritual food that is but a small sample of the feast we will have when we eventually sit down and enjoy God’s heavenly banquet. May we always hunger for the bread which comes from heaven and find in it the nourishment and strength we need to love and serve our Lord and Savior.
Deacon Paul Zemanek