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Liturgy

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

Jn 6:24-35

The Gospel follows John’s account of the multiplying of the five loaves and two fish which we heard last week. The word spreads and though Jesus and his shipmates have sailed to the other side of the sea, those who had eaten their fill follow him. This can sound wonderful; he is gaining new followers. When they meet up with Jesus, he offers them their truth. They were following, but not in the same sense, as he desired. They came to see if he were handing out more bread or doing something else for their enjoyment. They failed to see the bread as ”Sign”, but merely as a crusty “thing”.

Then begins a long discussion centering around the double-meaning of “bread”. The Jewish people have in their religious memory how Moses brought about the miracle of bread in the desert. Here, they are talking to Jesus in terms of a continuation of bread being served for their eating. Jesus knows this and turns the word “bread” into a meaning for “himself”. Jesus is not playing with the minds of the Jews, but leading them to a faith-leap in him, who like bread, gives life to those who eat.

“Eating” for Jesus means taking in the whole “loaf”, the entirety of him as the one “sent” and “sealed” by his Father who is at this very moment giving Jesus as “bread” for eternal life. Believing is “eating” and for Jesus, and “eating” means more than saying “Yes, I believe”. It means living out the life which “The Bread of Life” came to give. My young nephew, while sitting in the back seat of his mother’s car with a hamburger in one hand and fries on his lap, just having pulled out of McDonald’s, asked his mother, “Where are we going to eat after we eat next?” I have a younger brother who is honestly, quite worried about there being “enough” food at his home or the home of those who invite him for dinner. Our Jewish ancestors had their similar worries. Will God be faithful? Will we survive? Will God get us out there and abandon us? Will there really be “enough”?

“Our daily bread” contains many grains of nourishment. It is about doing God’s will by receiving what God is giving us at any one moment and sometimes it can seem like crumbs, or crust, or quite stale. We too ask God many times, about where we will eat after we eat next. “Our daily bread” is God’s love, shared through the Eucharist, but eating more of the life of grace, the life of God’s love, after we eat the Eucharist next time. That Holy Bread, containing in Him all “sweetness” is God’s pledge that we will not be abandoned or left to go our own way grumbling that we did not get enough.

“You have given us, o Lord, bread from heavenendowed with all delights and sweetness in every taste.” Wis. 16, 20.

By Fr. Larry Gillick

Pope Francis Twitter Feed

* Our Way of Life *

"Our diverse talents and abilities, our differences in culture, nationality and age are assets for the richness of the community. Although we may be engaged in a variety of ministries, we all share the common call to apostolic discipleship in a community of the Catholic Apostolate of St. Vincent Pallotti."(OWL, 91)

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"Christ, the Apostle of the Eternal Father, and his mission are central to our personal and community life, giving meaning and direction to our thinking, our spirituality, our prayer, action and suffering." (OWL, 19)

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"As a community of disciples we are gathered around Jesus, the Apostle of the Eternal Father. Like the first disciples, we want to be with Jesus, be sent out by him and return to him to evaluate our service in the light of his presence." (OWL, 88)

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"As Pallottines, it is our special charism to foster growth in faith and love among the laity, to awaken them to awareness of their apostolic call, and to cooperate with them in furthering the apostolic mission." (OWL, 21)

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"Our relationships with one another should be marked by a love that bears all, believes all and hopes for all, a love that is neither conceited nor jealous, which hurts no one, nor is embittered or resentful. It is never discouraged but remains patient and kind. It rejoices with others and shares their suffering. It is with this kind of love that we should help and support one another." (OWL, 90)

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