for Sunday, August 2, 2015
Jesus tells us today the He is the bread of life. He is the One God sent from heaven to be our food. He is the whole meaning of our life. If we believe in Him, we will never hunger or thirst again.
The strong words that Scripture gives to us are meant to open our hearts, our minds, our ears and our eyes. Yet so often the words and the Word go right past us and we ignore it all. What does it take to wake us up?
The first reading today, from the Book of Exodus, is a good example of people who started out with enthusiasm and then got tired and wanted to give up. We can imagine our own joy if someone came along and told us: Just do this and you will have all the freedom you ever imagine and all of your cares and concerns will be taken care of! You will have food and love and all that you need!
We would wonder, of course, if this was some kind of trick. The people in the first reading today are accusing God of tricking them. This is a fairly common reaction in the Scriptures, both in the Hebrew Scriptures and in our Christian Scriptures. You duped me! You tricked me! You put me into an impossible situation!
In the case of those who went out of Egypt, it was exciting and a challenge at first. Life in the desert, however, without the comforts of home, quickly becomes a real challenge. Freedom is only obtained by paying the cost!
So the Letter to the Ephesians today reminds us not to live in the futility of our thoughts! When we try to think our way through life, we will always end up frustrated. We must learn to live in Jesus and put on His truth, His way of thinking, His way of living. This is true conversion. In some way, salvation traps us and leaves us no way out except through authentic conversion. We can resent that or we can accept it.
The Gospel of John this Sunday continues in Chapter 6, which is about the bread of life. There is no account of the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper in this Gospel. Rather, the teaching about the Eucharist is almost all in Chapter 6. It pushes us to a very simple question: what do you seek? Do I want miracles or do I want the signs that Jesus gives me to tell me that the Father loves me. As I begin to choose the signs that Jesus gives, I come to realize that I no longer hunger or thirst because I have been satisfied.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Exodus 16.2-4, 12-15, 31a++
Second Reading: Ephesians 4.17, 20-24
Gospel: John 6.24-35
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: