YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: EATING TO LIVE FOREVER OR EATING TO DIE TOMORROW: A SPIRITUAL QUEST AND A CHOICE.
BY: Fr. Clem C. Aladi
….” whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the communion of the Holy spirit be with you all. Good morning my dearest Children of God. We are gathered again to be fed with the words of eternal life. And may the Words we shall hear today satisfy our spiritual hunger through Christ our Lord.
The readings of today especially the gospel is a continuation of the last Sunday reading on the bread of life discourse in John chapter 6. Today Jesus makes it clearer that He is the bread of life. The bread that comes down from heaven for the life of the world. This bread is His is body and whoever eats of it will never die but have life everlasting. In an age where many are spiritually empty and hungry, Jesus gives himself to satisfy our deepest hunger. He is the bread broken for the life of a broken world.
To begin our reflection this morning, we have to ask ourselves how does Jesus give me life?, Am I really alive or living in him or merely existing? .
In our daily experience, people offer us a lot to eat. I was once offered a certain delicacy that got my stomach purging for hours, I have serious aversion for that food since then. Nowadays Gym business is becoming more lucrative and centres springing up daily because people have realized the need for exercise to loose weight and keep fit from all they accumulated through all the ‘eatings’ and ‘drinkings’. Many are no longer discontented with themselves because they are out of their desired shape or weight. All these are as a result of all we eat and drink daily. Medical Science keeps alerting us on the dangers of excessive consumption of certain foods and drinks and warns about the consequences of over indulgence on such. People are dying daily partly because of poor eating habits that escalated to deterioration in health conditions. Today in the midst of thousand delicacies in restaurants in our country and around us, Jesus offers a different kind of food (the bread of life) that sustains and gives life, not just the earthly life and nourishment but also everlasting life. This food is His own flesh and blood, His very self. People are willing to pay for food in fast food joints, but stay away from God’s free gift of Himself . We spend time eating out in fast food joints but have no time to visit God’s house or even accept His very gift. Why waste time and money on food that does not last?
*”Worldly people have no control over food and drinks but the spiritual people practice moderation and self control.”*
The life that Jesus offers is His very self. To know Him is to have life , to live without Him is to merely exist. We partake in this divine life through receiving His body and entering into a deeper communion/relationship with Him. Many of us Catholics, receive Jesus in the Eucharist and still indulge in sinful living. Such sinful lives are indicative of a people who have not entered into a deeper friendship with God. You either live in God or simply exist without Him. *And to live without God is to prepare for hell while living.* Jesus offered himself that we may have life and have it in full ( c.f. Jn 10:10). Are you truly living that life in full or merely existing?
The first reading of today describes the physical and spiritual hungers experienced by the prophet Elijah. The Bread of Life Jesus is prefigured in this reading by the miraculous food with which the angel nourished the Prophet Elijah in the desert while he was fleeing from the soldiers of Queen Jezebel. After being nourished by the Lord, Elijah was strengthened for the long journey of forty days to Mount Horeb where God instructed him to continue his prophetic work. Daily we are fed and nourished by the this bread in the Eucharist and by His enduring words. Jesus satisfies both physical and spiritual hunger. *He satisfies our physical hunger because the more we grow in knowledge of and friendship with Him, the Less we desire material things of this life* . We become contented with the little He has given us. He satisfies us spiritually by offering us eternal life that this worldly food or desires cannot offer. Spiritually He transforms our lives, making us living reflections of Him and people filled with His spirit, His compassion, His forgiveness and His endless Love.
The second reading presents Christ Jesus, the “Bread of Life,” as a “sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” Paul reminds the Ephesians Christians and us that, instead of seeking satisfaction in stale food of anger, slander, bitterness and malice, we are to nourish one another with the spiritual food of compassion, kindness and mutual forgiveness. Unless we become what we eat, we are eating in vain. To partake of this heavenly food without proper disposition is also eating to die ( cf 1Cor. 11:29).
Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ discourse in the synagogue at Capernaum on his return there after his miraculous feeding of the five thousand. During the discourse, Jesus reveals himself as the true “Bread of Life that came down from Heaven,” to give life to the world. Jesus proclaims himself as the new and perfect manna, the Incarnate Son of God literally “come down from Heaven.” This means that by the Holy Eucharist, Jesus actually gives us a share of eternal life while we are still on earth. But some of Jesus’ followers would turn away when he explained the source of his mysterious power and his Heavenly origin, just as many make mockery of the Eucharist today, worst still Catholics who receive Him without proper disposition and reverence.
The readings of today offers us another opportunity to reflect on our lives. Earthly food and drinks can only nourish your body and even get you sick but the spiritual food that Jesus offers gives us life in this world and eternal life hereafter. The Eucharist is a pledge of the beatific vision. We have to make a choice to live in Him or Die without Him.
Let us appreciate God’s gift of Himself and adore Him in the Eucharist. Let us become another Christ to others, offering them the gift of our selves in satisfying the hunger for justice, peace and love in our world.May you remain ever nourished by the bread of life. Peace and blessings.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. Clem C. Aladi