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Nineteenth Sunday - Year B

Sunday, 12 August, 2018
John 6: 41-51

The Word of God this Sunday, the Nineteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, continues Jesus clear teaching on the Holy Eucharist, teaching that is clear and unwavering despite the huge challenge to belief it posed to his hearers.

What is striking is that Jesus never watered down his teaching in order to appease the crowd, even though he loves each one of them with an everlasting love.  He loves all of us too much to give us anything less than the truth, no matter how strange to our ears it is, and no matter the demands the truth makes upon the way we live our lives.

In the first reading from the Book of Kings we hear a story of Elijah on a day when he was on a very low ebb.  The story will certainly resonate with anyone who has ever known despair, deep depression or meaninglessness in their lives.  As the story unfolds the message becomes clear.  By ourselves we do not have enough spiritual fuel to live this life with joy, peace, meaning and fulfilment.  These things come as a gift from the Creator.  He alone gives the bread our souls hunger for.

In the Gospel of John today Jesus gets to the heart of this mystery by teaching that it is he himself, in his very person, who is the ultimate, clearest and fullest revelation of what our souls are famished for.  He is God himself, the One for whom we were loved into existence to find, to love, and to freely join in holy union.  Jesus underscores this crucial teaching by giving us the Holy Eucharist whereby he literally gives us his risen body and blood to strengthen us and to build us up in Holy Communion with Father, Son and Spirit.  This is not a symbol, it is a miracle.

The second reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians reminds us that miracles make demands on us.  We cannot be part of such awesome realities without allowing them to beautify the way we relate to the people around us.  The Eucharist gives us heaven’s strength to live up to these noble demands.

- Fr Conor Cunningham