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Thursday, 29 July 2021 06:37

Celebrating At Home - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

I am the bread of life

Our journey through Chapter 6 of St John’s Gospel continues. Two weeks ago, Jesus showed himself the true shepherd-king, feeding the inner hunger of the people for the Word of God. Last week, Jesus fed the physical hunger of a great multitude with a simple meal of bread and fish. The people, impressed by what they saw, wanted to make him their warrior-king, one who would lead them in a revolt against the occupying Romans and satisfy their every desire. Jesus escaped into the hills.

This Sunday, the crowd has caught up with Jesus. He accuses them of looking for him only because he gave them all the bread they wanted to eat, not because they had understood that the bread was a sign of the real food Jesus was offering: himself.

Jesus urges them to work for ‘food that endures to eternal life’. Working for this food means to believe in the one God has sent: Jesus himself.

The crowd asks for a sign to prove that they should believe in Jesus. After all, they say, Moses gave our ancestors bread to eat in the desert; what will you do? Their request underlines their failure to really see the sign that they had already been given. Jesus reformulates their quote from scripture: It is God who gives the true bread from heaven, the bread of God which gives life to the world. In that case, they say, give us that bread always.

Jesus replies: I am the bread of life, those who come to me will never be hungry; those who believe in me will never thirst. Jesus is real food for the hungers and thirsts of the human heart.

To be nourished by Jesus one must believe (have faith) in him. This implies a personal relationship with Jesus. Once this personal relationship has been established everything else finds its proper place and true purpose.

Our relationships feed and sustain us as human beings. They are born of the food of love, compassion and forgiveness. Being in a relationship is to be drawn into communion with another person. We always draw life from those we love

and those who love us. It is the same with Jesus. In order to draw life from him, to be fed by him, we have to be in loving relationship with him.

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Celebrating at Home is a Liturgy of the Word centred around the Gospel reading for each Sunday. It includes a reflection on the Gospel and prayers.

It can be used personally or with your family. Parts for all to pray are given in bold print and all the other parts can be shared among those present.

We hope that Celebrating at Home will be a source of nourishment and strength for all who use it.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

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