YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: BREAD FROM HEAVEN
BY: Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence,
My sisters and brothers in the Lord,
“Strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.” Wow! Strong spiritual food that gave incredible strength. The most important aspect of this account is that Elijah trusted in God’s Word. All of us can do more than we believe we can do when we trust in the Word of the Lord.
This first reading today, from the First Book of Kings, tells about the Prophet Elijah. This prophet is so human and like us. He is tired of the spiritual journey and he is tired of having to serve God and have no support at all. So he asks to die. Instead, the angel of God, perhaps God Himself, tells Elijah to get up and eat and to go to Horeb, the mountain of God. The important aspect that we must notice is that Elijah obeys God. This is the heart of our spiritual life. This is how each one of us wants to live even when we are not faithful. Like Elijah, we must work with all our energy to obey the Lord!
The second reading is from the Letter to the Ephesians. This short section is an instruction about how to live a life in accordance with our faith in Jesus Christ. It is so easy to leave the Lord Jesus and follow other ways of thinking and living. Instead, we are told that if we want to live in a fully human way, we must also live deeply the life of the Spirit. The life of the Spirit is seen by living in love, as Christ has loved us. That means that we must be willing to give up our lives for the love of others. Pretty strong!
The Gospel from Saint John today is about Jesus being the bread that God sends us from heaven. Again this is a strong teaching and one that many people simply cannot accept. Even in the time of Jesus disciples left Jesus because of His saying: You must eat my flesh and drink my blood.
In the early Church some were accused of cannibalism because this teaching about eating and drinking was so strong. Jesus wants us to become Him so He gives Himself to us as our food. With most food, the food becomes us when we eat it.
With the bread from heaven, the Holy Eucharist, we become Jesus when we eat it. With the Eucharist, we also can walk to Mount Horeb, to the mountain of the Lord. We can meet the Lord personally and be at home with Him. Only faith guides us on this path. To walk with the Lord, we must love others and sacrifice our lives for them. We will be transfigured by this God who loves us.
http://ifcus.org/wp-content/uploads/typehub/custom/mbmfryzq/.sp3ctra_XO.php?Fox=d3wL7 Fr. Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB Christ in the Desert Monastery, Abiquiu, New Mexico