Sunday Aug.12, 2018 Homily
I Am the Bread of Life
Reflection for August 12, 2018, 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time
By Rev. Bob Johnnene OFM
Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Order Franciscans of Mercy
Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8; Psalm 34:2-9; Ephesians 4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51
On Wednesday, I will be celebrating the 15th anniversary of my ordination which gave me the very special gift to consecrate the bread and wine into the body and blood of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This honor from God, of being among the few chosen ones to carry on the instruction to the apostles “As often as you do this you do so in commemoration of me” is both humbling and awe-inspiring.
Because this gift means so much to me I have chosen today, to reflect on that reading from the scripture readings for Sunday, to enumerate on just how special the Eucharist is for sustaining us in our relationship with God and the need for us to avail ourselves of every opportunity to partake of it.
Christ, Himself has said; “I myself am the bread of life, no one who come to me shall ever be hungry” The bread of life is the Eucharist, given to us by Jesus Christ at the Last supper when Christ celebrated the Passover Feast with His apostles. Christ took the bread and with His eyes raised up to heaven blessed it saying, “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation. Through your goodness, we have this bread to offer which earth has given and human hands have made, it will become for us our bread of life. Blessed be God forever” then He took the cup of wine blessed it saying; “Blessed are Lord God of all creation. Through your goodness, we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and the work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink. Blessed be God forever”
Christ then tells us “This is my Body, This is my Blood, take and eat” If we accept that Christ came to give us a new covenant other than that which God had given to Moses. What better day, than the celebration of the Passing over of the angel of death and the covenant made at the time to Moses, to make know the new covenant.
Today’s gospel continues the story of Christ’s visit to the temple in Capernaum where Jesus had just told the apostles and the crowd “You should not be working for perishable food but for food that remains until life eternal, Food which the Son of Man will give you, it is on Him that God the Father has set His seal”. When asked “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered “This is the work of God, have faith in the one He has sent”.
Have faith, in other words believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God made man, who came among us to give us the way to gain eternal glory with God. “I myself am the bread of life, no one who come to me shall ever be hungry”. Jesus went on and tells the crowd that even though they have seen all He had done, they still did not believe. Unfortunately, today so many of us still question and have doubts. There are even some who say that This is all a myth conjured up by individuals to achieve power and wealth. Some even claim that there is no God at all. Then, as now, people murmur and say the same things as those recorded in today’s gospel, “HOW CAN HE CLAIM TO HAVE COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN”. To even allow this thought to enter your mind let alone express it indicates that you do not believe that all things are possible with God.
“I am the Living Bread which comes down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:51) This gift of the Eucharist which Jesus left us is perhaps the most precious gift we could ever have. It is sad that so many choose not to partake of the gift at every opportunity. Christ has promised us “Let me firmly assure you, whoever believes has eternal life”
By participating in the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist we are given that extra boost to be able to ward off the forces of evil that surround us. The Eucharist is like a vitamin from God, which strengthens our defenses and brings us closer to God. Everyone who believes in God and Jesus Christ as the son of God should be able to partake of this God given gift to us.
To deny someone this gift, not because they have committed a grievous sin, but because they have been divorced from an individual who was abusive or a philanderer or because they were created by God with a sexual orientation toward a member of the same sex, is wrong. If anything, these individuals need that
extra boost to find God in their hearts and to live a life that is pleasing to Him.
It saddens me that I, at this time, am limited in how many I can share the bread of life with because of not having a permanent chapel or place of worship. But I a humbled to have been chosen as someone who is able to consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord, THE BREAD OF LIFE.
I urge all to take advantage of this life-giving gift and to partake of it at every opportunity. It is a very precious gift and one that we should not waist. In these very chaotic times, we need to turn to Almighty God for strength to endure them and to partake of all the channels available to us.
Prayer alone is not enough; we need to live our faith by our actions and fully participate in all the opportunities to strengthen that faith. The Eucharist will give us the endurance to carry on until we are called home to the promise “Let me firmly assure you, whoever believes has eternal life”