Blog & Pastor Letters

The Word of Jesus Bread of Life

08-08-2021Weekly ReflectionRev. Wilfred Yinah

In the first reading in 1Kgs. 19:4-8 Elijah denounces those who have abandoned Yahweh to follow Baal, the god of Jezebel. The queen is hunting him down and wants to kill him. He decides to run away, southwards, towards Mount Horeb, the mountain of God. He wants to go to where Moses met God. The feels that his faith needs to be strengthened and wants to repeat the spiritual experiences of the great liberator of Israel. The desert crossing is not easy. He feels too sad, tired, and alone that he can’t walk any further. He sits down under a tree and begs God to let him die.

The desert is a symbol of our life we to at times find ourselves in difficulties; even religion and our communities let us down. We are saddened by the conflicts, the envy, the meanness, and the gossiping what happened to Elijah help. God does not abandon his prophets. He accompanies him, he does not lessen the test, does not prevent him from going on with his journey, nor send his angels to help him he must go on across the desert. God does the same for us. He does not do our work for us; he does not take our place. When we are tired, he is not heavy on us. he merely shows us the way and gives us food to keep up our strength. This food is His word.

In the second reading St Paul enjoins Christians to always control their tongues. If we were all to give vent to our evil sentiments, it would be impossible for anyone to live in community. Christians should be generous, sympathetic, and forgiving as God forgives us in Christ. Mercy is one of the characteristics of God. Have the vices mentioned in today’s reading disappeared from our communities? In our conversation, do we spread joy, peace, and harmony?

In today’s Gospel begins with a report that the Jews complained about Jesus’ claims regarding his identity. They knew his family, and they knew he was the son of Joseph. They could not comprehend what Jesus meant when he said that he came down from heaven. Jesus responds to the complaints by saying that only those who are chosen by God will recognize him as the one that God sent. This is a recurring theme in John’s Gospel, that God has chosen those who will have faith in Jesus. What does this mean? It means God gives all of us the chance of coming to know him but not all of us accept his offer. Some of us behave like the Jews at the time of Jesus, who closed their hearts and refused the bread of life. There are still people who refuse to change their religious ideas, who refuse to learn from the word of God and continue to hold on to traditions and habits whose usefulness is long past and only show them to be like pagans of long ago.

In the verses that follow, Jesus talks more about his unity with the Father. He is the one who has seen the Father and, therefore, knows the Father. Those who listen to God will recognize that Jesus is the one sent from God. Those who believe will have eternal life. Jesus concludes with the central element of our eucharistic theology. He promises that the bread of life will bring eternal life to those who partake of it, and he tells us that the bread of life will be his own flesh, given for the life of the world.

In today’s reading, we hear Jesus say again, as he did in last week's Gospel, that he is the bread of life. We also hear Jesus add that he is the living bread. Both of these statements help us understand better the gift that Jesus gives us in the Eucharist. We celebrate this gift of Jesus each time we gather for Mass. We believe that receiving Jesus in the Eucharist will lead us to eternal life.