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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Sunday, 9 August, 2015
John 6:41-51

‘No one can provide absolute proofs to convince us that God is gracious. There are times when the suffering, death, evil, fear and terror that are part of our world seem to say that such a God does not exist. If we limit ourselves to what we are able to see with our eyes it may not inspire us to faith in a God who is gracious and kind. Yet, despite some of what we observe we can arrive at faith in God if we put our trust in Jesus. He did not live for himself but for the service of his people and he showed them that God is very near to us. He healed those who were sick in mind and body and befriended out to those that society rejected. He gave unstintingly of himself to the end. He set himself against all self-righteousness, hypocrisy and hardness of heart. He set believers free from their sin and guided them to a growing appreciation of their gracious God. He liberated them from anxiety about their lives and gave them eyes to notice the needs of others. He gave them the strength to reach out and help those in need. Along with all of that he showed them what is to come, namely, the kingdom where God’s love is the sole master’ (Jorg Zink).

Faith is a new way of seeing things. It gives new ears to hear, a heightened sensitivity to what God is saying to us. According to an old saying, the old leaves must fall from the trees before the new ones can begin to grow. That wisdom provides a positive outlook on growing older. Jesus states that to believe in him is to pass from death to life (John 5:24). Faith in him gives new life to all our relationships. What stands out clearly in today’s gospel is how faith involves a decision, a choice that gives direction to how we live. It is trust in Jesus and in his claim that he was sent by the Father. Most of those who listened to his teaching about the bread come down from heaven rejected his claims and walked away. A decision to trust him was a bridge too far for them to risk. When Jesus asks the apostles if they too wanted to go away Peter answered, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life’. Faith is a decision for life. It is to choose life and it is a life-long decision. It is an ongoing choice as life’s experiences call for new ways of seeing and hearing. As well as a decision for Jesus it involves an ongoing and a decisive commitment to stay with him and learn from him. It is trust in the witness he gives and trust in the wisdom he brings from the Father.

The true colour of life is love. All love comes from God and draws us to God. The main fruit of the Eucharist is love, the love of God that is poured into our hearts and inspires us to give of ourselves in love. In giving us the bread come down from heaven Jesus comes to live in us and give us energy for self-giving in love. Bread gives strength, energy, life. The strength, energy and life that are available to us through the Eucharist need to be released again and again through prayer. That prayer asks God to be God, it allows God to be God, that is to be love, within us and at work in all we undertake.

F

For prayer: 

How does the Eucharist make a difference to how I live ?   Greater charity ?
Is it clear that my faith is a decision for Jesus, an ongoing choice giving impetus to life ?