Reflection for the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Through the manna, the bread from heaven. God gave the Israelites life, saving them from imminent death. Through this bread from heaven their faith in God’s care for them was revived. God continues to give us Jesus, the eternal Bread of Life in the Eucharist.
Our readings today use the symbol of bread to bring out the message that a God wants to feed us and care for us on all levels of human existence. The Israelites took God’s love and care for granted. They complained and grumbled against Moses and Aaron when matters did not go their way. In spite of their ungrateful complaining hearts, God provides quail in the evening and fine flakes like frost on the ground in the morning. As God was with Israelites community, so God is with us in wisdom and love giving us whatever we need.
Christianity involves a one-to-one relationship with the Lord. If we wish to follow Jesus, we must maintain a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. What better way to experience Christ than to partake in the Eucharist, the bread of life, where we share Christ intimately.
Jesus tells the crowd that he is the bread from heaven which gives life. As Jesus spoke to the crowds a long time ago, so he speaks to us today; the message is the same: ” Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life,….I am the Bread of Life;….” We should be mindful of this whenever we encounter our Lord in the Eucharist. We must receive and welcome this food as a gift of the Son of Man, whom the Father has marked with his seal, and to whom we must listen. Jesus does not simply propose to us a code of laws; he offers himself as food for those who receive him with faith. Jesus invites us to the table at which he is, personally, the Word and the Bread. Jesu patiently waits for us to come to him and receive his gift, the bead of life, which comes down from heaven that we may have life.
As you leave here today, go resolved to make God the center of your life. Be resolved to treat one another with the love and compassion which Jesus taught. When we partake in the Eucharist we are changed; we are filled with everything Jesus has to give us – how do we respond? If the first thing one does after receiving Holy Communion is to engage in gossip or tell a lie or curse at someone for cutting them of traffic, one is already beginning to fill the heart and soul with all the things which serve only to taint one’s relationship with tho Lord. I challenge each of you to let the true Bread of Life nourish your lives without hindrance until we gather again at this Eucharistic Table.
God bless you.
Your brother in Christ