19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Vinner)
CHRIST IS THE LIVING BREAD AND MYSTERY OF OUR FAITH
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today is the nineteenth Sunday of ordinary time. God continues to draw us to himself in order to save, feed and strengthen us on our journey. The readings of this Sunday provide us another opportunity to continue our reflection on the gift of the Holy Eucharist, the mystery of our faith and the life of the world.
In today’s first reading, the same Elijah who defeated Ahab, Jezebel and their entire prophets of Baal is afraid and running for his life. The same Elijah who shut the heavens for three and half years, and later brought down fire and rain is terrified and discouraged. All hope of survival was lost and God seemed to have abandoned him.
This reading is very interesting and encouraging in many ways. This is because many of us are in the same boat right now with Elijah. Many times, I have heard people say to me: “I am afraid and tired of this life.” “I am alone in my struggle.” “I do not think God still hears my prayers,” even, “I feel like dying because, it is too much for me to bear.”
Such moments in life that provoke and force us to make such confessions are really tough ones. We are almost at our breaking or zero point. Like Elijah, some of us are on the run from different uncertainties of this life. We are saying or acting: “Lord, I have heard enough. Take my life!” So, we can appreciate Elijah’s predicament. However, like Elijah, when we think that all hope is lost, God will surely intervene to nourish and strengthen us.
In the second reading, Paul reminds us that as children of God, we bear the mark of the Holy Spirit. This is simply, to say that God never leaves us alone in the valley or desert of this life. Rather, through the Holy Spirit, He accompanies us daily. So, rather than making the Holy Spirit sad through our bad actions, we must obey, trust and walk with Him.
The Holy Spirit leads us to Christ the living bread who nourishes and equally strengthens us for our journey. So, Paul teaches us how to maintain this relationship with the Holy Spirit. “Never have grudges against others, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names, forgive each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.”
In today’s gospel, like Elijah, Jesus confronts his own obstacles. The Pharisees would not believe in Him nor would they let him have his peace. Instead, they looked for means to discredit Christ and his work. However, Christ did not give up. Instead, he remained focused. He insisted: “I am the living bread, which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever, and the bread I give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The good news today, is that Christ draws us to himself every day through the Eucharistic in order to nourish and strengthen us for our journey. He is the living bread that satisfies our spiritual hunger. He equally fills us with his spirit who directs us on the right path on our journey. So today, God is saying to us as he said to Elijah in the desert, “arise, eat, drink,” and continue your journey with a new hope, a zeal and a new spirit.
Life messages: 1) Let us accept the challenge to become bread and drink for others: “You are what you eat?” Let us recognize that Jesus whom we consume in the Holy Eucharist is actually God Who assimilates us into His being. Then, from Sunday to Saturday we will grow into Jesus, as Jesus grows in us, our lives will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and we will become more like Jesus. Thus, we shall share in the joyous and challenging life of being the Body of Christ for the world – Bread for a hungry world, and Drink for those who thirst for justice, peace, fullness of life, and even eternal life. In other words, the Eucharist challenges us to sacrifice ourselves for others, as Christ has done for all of us.
2) Let us appreciate Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist: Since the Holy Eucharist is “the Body and Blood, together with the soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ,” the Sacrament a) increases our intimate union with Christ; b) preserves, increases, and renews the Sanctifying Grace we received at Baptism; c) cleanses us of past sin and preserves us from future sins; d) strengthens the theological virtue of Charity in us, thus enabling us to be separated from our disordered attachments and to be rooted in Christ; and e) unites us more deeply with the mystery of the Church.
Finally, let us take advantage of this generous gift that God had given us through the Holy Eucharist in order to enrich our lives. We must do what the psalmist tells us today: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” He is really the living bread of life. He is the Mystery of our faith and the life of the world.
May God Bless Us
FR. S.Vinner HGN