YEAR B: HOMILY FOR THE 20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: THE BREAD OF LIFE
BY: Fr. Benny Tuazon
(Jn. 6:51-58) Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel we continue with the Bread of Life Discourse of Jesus. This Sunday’s message is conditioned by the two readings. The First Reading from the Book of Proverbs, has Wisdom preparing a table for anyone anyone who is simple and needs understanding. It is depiction of the necessity to partake of God’s Wisdom, of God’s truth in order to to combat foolishness. The world is not enough. As human beings, we need God’s sustenance. The Second Reading echoes the same need for wisdom to counter foolishness. This time, St. Paul points to the Spirit as the source of understanding. We need to avoid foolishness and obtain wisdom in this life. And the one who can provide that is Jesus, the truth, the way, and the life. This, more or less is captured in His declaration of Himself as the Bread of Life. Note, too, that Wisdom is understood in the Old Testament to refer to Jesus. Thus, in the litany, Mary was given the title, Seat of Wisdom.
The world had come up with a lot of ways to sustain the human body and the human person. Organic and processed foods, vitamins, different ways of cooking, mixing ingredients and spices, super foods from complex concoctions, supplements, etc. We also have motivation seminars, leadership trainings, value formations, etc. Name it, the world seems to have it with respect to the development of the human body and the human person. But were they enough? Were they satisfying? Why is the world still suffering from greed, depression, hunger, foolishness, sickness, immaturity, etc. We want peace yet we could not find the way to peace. We want equality yet it seems to remain an elusive dream. We want justice yet injustice seems to prevail.
Jesus gives an answer to this foolishness. He gives His Word and Himself. He is the Prince of Peace! He came to bring peace. His brand of peace is not just the absence of war and conflicts, His peace is forgiveness, mercy, and compassion. It is devoid of revenge and getting even. It is constitutive of humility, love, and aching for unity. The best witness is Jesus hanging on the cross. He was with no sin and very much capable of retaliating and harming His accusers and executioners. But he allowed Himself to be crucified and uttered forgiveness while hanged. He put an end to violence and invited reconciliation. Christianity is Catholicism. It is addition. Win and not annihilate or erase the other.
Jesus is the truth. Truth here is a biased truth. The truth by Jesus. His truth is not what is there or what happened. Jesus’ truth is what needs to be there and what should happen. As the Author of Life, Jesus knew what we should do and how our life should be lived in order for us to reach our true and apt destiny. All of these are found in Jesus’ Words and Deeds.
Jesus is life. Life on earth is just an aspect of it. The true and real life here is life eternal, life in the Kingdom, life with Jesus. Life is not merely spending time here on earth. It is living beyond death, the very essence of the life given by God. We believe in the resurrection. Life does not end in death. The person who died does not disappear. Life continues in the after life. Jesus gave us that life, sustains that life, and will welcome us in the next life. Choose, therefore, Foolishness or Wisdom? Life or death?