18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B)     

18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B)                                                  

First Reading: Exodus 16:2 – 4, 12 - 15                                                                                                            Responsorial Psalm: 78:3 – 4, 23 – 24, 25, 54                                                                                                  Second Reading: Ephesians 4: 17, 20 - 24                                                                                                      Gospel Reading: John: 6:24 - 35

Reflection: In last Sunday’s Responsorial Psalm we read, “The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs.”  In today’s Responsorial Psalm we read, “The Lord gave them bread from heaven.” In Today’s First Reading from the book of Exodus, God hears the whole Israelite community grumbling against Moses and Aaron that He had taken them out of Egypt into the desert to die of famine. God responds to them, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.” For forty years in the desert God fed his people with bread and quail. He fed them by his own hand. After Jesus had fed the multitude from five barley loaves and two fish, Jesus challenges people who are searching for him in today’s Gospel Reading as he tells them, “You are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.” He tells them, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” And in the final verse of the reading, Jesus tells the multitude, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Jesus offers himself to us as the bread of life who takes away all hunger and thirst. He calls us to believe in him and not in our own whims. Our lack of faith in God puts us in so much trouble in our relationship with God. Instead of telling him our needs and wants, we often grumble against him and against each other. Instead of searching him for good reasons that he is the Lord of glory, we search him to satisfy our own selfish desires. Instead of walking with him as the father who has given us precious gifts of creation, redemption and sanctification, we follow him so that our temporal and evil desires can be fulfilled. Lack of faith in God destroys the quality of our relationship with God. We only seek him when we want our needs to be fulfilled. Don’t we experience this kind of relationship among ourselves:  husbands and wives, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren? Don’t we feel that sometimes other people are using us as they only value us as their own ATMs? Their love for us vanishes when their wants are fulfilled. Today’s scriptural readings not only inform us that God has the power to feed us, but also they inform us to build genuine relationship with God. Our genuine relationship with God will lead us to a deeper love and respect of Him whether our temporal wants are fulfilled or not. St. Stephen one of the first deacons of the church loved God to the most even when his adversaries stoned him to death. In his last prayer as he was dying he said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep (Act.7:59-60).  Jesus is the bread of life. Yes! Amen! Fr. Severine.