Homily Eighteenth Sunday of the Year - B
Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
The people of Israel started to grumble……. And also the people in the gospel start murmuring or grumbling amongst themselves after hearing Jesus’ message about the bread of life.
In the wilderness when the people grumbled against God and against Moses…. they were short of food and tired and hungry and were regretting putting their faith and hope in God and his servant Moses. They started shockingly looking back to their time of slavery and fooling themselves that it was not so intolerable after all and that slavery might have been better than what they were now enduring. They had forgotten the horrors of their time of slavery and subjugation in Egypt.
In response to their needs and despite their grumblings, God gave the people bread (manna) in the desert to sustain them…..
In this gospel passage, the grumbling people also receive bread.... in the the person of Jesus, who is the true bread of life…….. Jesus as the bread of life feeds us by the bread that is his Word, (the word of God), and he feeds us with the bread that his his presence and values, and most importantly, he feeds us with his Body and Blood in the Eucharist.
But unlike the wilderness experience…. Jesus gives them eternal life….. not just short term satisfaction…
It is good, in the face of this gospel for each of us to ask ourselves some important questions….
Are there things about our lives //or about how we stand with God // that are a source of grumbling or discontent. Are there aspects of our lives where we are tempted to lose heart and not trust in the goodness and faithfulness of God and that God does care about us and only wants the best for us. Do we sometimes doubt that God wants us not only to exist but to thrive, and experience eternal life…. to the full…
In what ways might we be invited to more open, more willing to learn from God? …..
How might we allow an even more open attitude to being taught by God…… //
As with any student/ teacher relationship….. we can learn the most if we are willing to put aside our preconceptions, and be challenged to look at things in a new way, according to the mind and wisdom of the teacher…
In ways different from the usual attitudes and approaches we have habitually taken….
The challenge is for us to accept the gifts and graces and small miracles of daily life, when and where they occur….
For the converse if not always true…. God does not always answer our requests and demands in the time or in the ways that we demand … And this can tempt us to grumble or complain or tempt us to lose hope….
But God does send us what we need, and God constantly teaches us the ways to put on HIS mind and his ways and transform our mind and heart to that of Christ, and most importantly he gives himself to us, to strengthen our life journey…
The people in Jesus' time grumbled, because they doubted Jesus' assurance that he would be with them in a real and tangible way always….. As the bread of life….. as the Chalice of eternal salvation………….
There is a saying in the bible…. "God spoke and it was created"…. So it is not so hard to believe that Jesus, at the last supper said to his disciples…. I want to give you something that will make me present to you in a real way..,… so… I am saying to you…. Every time you eat this bread and drink from this chalice .. you are receiving me… you are encountering me….. I guarantee it…..
And why could not Jesus do that? … Why would he not do this necessary thing?….. and of course.. this is exactly what he did…..
Let us pray that each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist… it will strengthen us to live as Christ in the world….
· FR. PAUL W. KELLY
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