August 8, 2021 – 19th Sunday Ordinary Time

Sunday Readings: 1 Kings 19.4-8; Ephesians 4.30-5.2; John 6.41-51
 
“Very truly, I tell you whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness and died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” – John 6.47-51
 
Two Sundays ago, Jesus multiplied five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 people — a sign which reveals Jesus’ identity as wisdom’s child, the giver of abundant life, the messiah. As the chapter unfolds, Jesus talks with three groups — his disciples, the crowd, and Jews in the crowd who follow Moses and who question how Jesus can be from heaven when they know his origins on earth. This conflict reflects sharpening differences between Jews who follow Moses and Jews who follow Jesus at the time John writes in the AD 90s.
 
The Jews who follow Moses openly disbelieve his claims that he, rather than the manna in the desert, is the real bread of life from God. Jesus’ claim to be the bread that came down from heaven sets them murmuring. Is God’s revelation only in the law of Moses and the God who supplied Israel quail and manna in the wilderness, or is God’s revelation in their midst in Jesus?
 
Jesus contrasts himself with manna. Israel’s ancestors ate manna in the wilderness and died. Those who eat the bread that comes down from heaven will not die. A double meaning emerges in the conversation. When Jesus speaks of himself as the living bread, he invites faith not only in himself but in his eucharistic presence in the continuing Christian communities. The bread he gives in every eucharist is his flesh for the life of the world.
 
Where do you best fit — among the doubting disciples, the fair-weather crowd, or the Jews faithful to Moses’ law and the past? Where or in whom do you find Jesus really present? People? Sacraments? Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament? Scripture?

Published by GoodGroundPress

Good Ground Press is the publishing ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. We publish resources for living the Gospel today, including Sunday By Sunday for adults and SPIRIT ONLINE for teens.

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