Ps 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54
The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Psalter: Week 2 / (Green)
1st Reading: Ex 16:2-4, 12-15
In the desert the whole community of Israel grumbled against Moses and Aaron and said to them, “If only we had died by the hand of Yahweh in Egypt when we sat down to caldrons of meat and ate all the bread we wanted, whereas you have brought us to this desert to let the whole assembly die of starvation!”
Yahweh then said to Moses, “Now I am going to rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to gather what is needed for that day. In this way I will test them to see if they will follow my Teaching or not.
“I have heard the complaints of Israel. Speak to them and say: Between the two evenings you will eat meat, and in the morning you will have bread to your heart’s content; then you shall know that I am Yahweh, your God!”
In the evening quails came up and covered the camp. And in the morning, dew had fallen around the camp. When the dew lifted, there was on the surface of the desert a thin crust like hoarfrost. The people of Israel upon seeing it said to one another, “What is it?” for they didn’t know what it was. Moses told them, “It is the bread that Yahweh has given you to eat.“
2nd Reading: Eph 4:17, 20-24
I say to you, then, and with insistence I advise you in the Lord: do not imitate the pagans who live an aimless kind of life.
But it is not for this that you have followed Christ. For I suppose that you heard of him and received his teaching which is seen in Jesus himself. You must give up your former way of living, the old self, whose deceitful desires bring self-destruction. Renew yourselves spiritually, from inside, and put on the new self, or self according to God, that is created in true righteousness and holiness.
Gospel: Jn 6:24-35
When they saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Master, when did you come here?“
Jesus answered, “Truly, I say to you, you look for me, not because of the signs which you have seen, but because you ate bread and were satisfied. Work then, not for perishable food, but for the lasting food which gives eternal life. The Son of Man will give it to you, for he is the one on whom the Father has put his mark.“
Then the Jews asked him, “What shall we do? What are the works that God wants us to do?“ And Jesus answered them, “The work God wants is this: that you believe in the One whom God has sent.“
They then said, “Show us miraculous signs, that we may see and believe you. What sign do you perform? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert; as Scripture says: They were given bread from heaven to eat.“
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven. My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. The bread God gives is the One who comes from heaven and gives life to the world.“ And they said to him, “Give us this bread always.“
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall never be hungry, and whoever believes in me shall never be thirsty.“
READ: Finding Jesus in Capernaum, the people had a discussion with Him where Jesus revealed their thoughts and motives. First, they looked for Him because He fed and satiated their need for food. Second, they did not know that they had to work for the food that never perish; that is, to believe in Jesus Christ the bread of life from heaven. Third, they had to learn that He the bread from heaven was, and is, different from the manna that Moses gave their ancestors in the desert.
REFLECT: Sometimes, people do not really know what they need. True need is that which gives depth and quality to life when addressed. The people need to eat to attend to their physical well-being. But they need not bring this to God’s concern. By their own strengths and capacities they can provide food for their daily needs. There is no point for God to intervene especially in normal circumstances. Thus they can aspire to a higher need: the need to nourish their spirit. This is what Jesus meant to address. But the people misunderstood. The dialogue between them and Jesus would continue for a long time. The task ahead would be a difficult one for Jesus.
RESPOND: There are many people who are lost and sometimes in need of guides to bring them back to the proper path. Today would be a good day to listen to their life story, help them sort out their confusion and bring them into the light of understanding.
PRAY: Lord and God, I pray for all the people important to me. I pray that their questions find answers, their confusion encounter clarity and their doubts the certainty that leads to peace. May I be an instrument to some of them of Your wonderful guidance so that they may emerge into the marvelous light of Your love, through Christ our Light. Amen.
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