August 8: Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Readings: 1. 1 Kings 19:4-8; Psalm: 34; 2. Ephesians 4:30
– 5:2; Gospel: John 6:41-51.
It is good to note what sits at the heart of these readings. For then we see what the bread of life theme truly means for us on life’s journey.
The 1 Kings reading focuses upon Elijah and his special God-given mission. In the wilderness, this prophet imagines his life is over. But the surprising intervention of an angel of God changes that. Miraculously supplied with much-needed food and drink, Elijah is rightly fortified by divine aid. It is clear from this incident that he will reach the mountain of God, where he must learn more about being the Lord’s prophet.
What we hear in Ephesians calls us to stop and heed the instruction given. It is a simple set of commands that indicate how the Christian is to live.
At its centre is a model of behaviour and good practice learned by contemplating God the Father’s love embodied in Christ’s death, offered for the sake of our salvation. Being constantly conscious that we are God’s children means that we therefore live every day blessedly invigorated by the sacred revelation
made known to us.
The emphasis of John’s Gospel text is squarely placed on the food of life Jesus provide us. This evangelist teaches us that Jesus is the real food we need for daily perseverance. He is, without a doubt, the gift sent to us by God the Father. Therefore, when Jesus says that he is the bread from heaven or, alternatively, the
bread of life, we are hearing something really profound. All believers have need of divine assistance that guides us towards the final goal of heavenly life.
Reflecting upon these three readings can deeply affect us. For in them we learn that the bread of life is our spiritual nourishment for whatever this life asks of us.