Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 8
What Is Truly Most Important Is the Food Which Nourishes for an Eternity, the Food Which Feeds and Strengthens the Soul, Not Only in This Life but Also That Which Sustains Us for Our Final Journey.
“Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” – words which we find in our Responsorial Psalm for this Sunday.
“Taste and see…”
Today’s Readings are all about food – food which nourishes and gives strength to the body, and food which nourishes and sustains the soul.
Today, we are given a glimpse of a frightened Elijah, a prophet from the Old Testament and who lived some nine hundred years before the birth of Christ. He was running and fearful for his life, since Jezebel, who was the wife of Ahab, the king of Israel, was a very evil and conniving woman.
She had the reputation of hiring assassins who would murder anyone who stood in her way of gaining wealth and power for herself and her husband, and she had just sent a messenger to Elijah that she was going to have him put to death the next day.
Since Elijah was God’s prophet and spoke only of God’s Truth, God would not abandon His chosen messenger. So He sent an angel to feed and strengthen him. And the angel said, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
When we reflect upon our own journeys in life, do not some of them seem long and arduous? When one falls on hard times, whether it be the loss of a job and the financial security which that job provided, or whether one loses his or her health, and we find ourselves coping with illness and pain, and the road to recovery seems forever long, do we not also become fearful to some degree – uncertain as to what our future may hold for us?
And all these feelings which affect our mood and our behavior are completely normal, for they speak of the frailty of our human nature, and how dependent we truly are upon God’s providential care for us as His children.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus continues His discourse on the “Bread of Life”. It is the first time that Jesus discusses the concept of the Eucharist when He says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
The faith which we profess and embrace each day is a gift from God. We had no say in who our parents were going to be. We had no say with what faith our parents were practicing.
But, because of God’s Infinite Love for you and me, it was His will that we be raised or instructed in a faith which would bring us to know Jesus Christ. And we are reading this meditation today because we made a free-will choice to not only accept His gift to us, but to even learn more about this wondrous gift so that we might be able to make a more informed decision as to how to place our faith into practice in our daily lives.
And Jesus says to each of us in today’s Gospel, “They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.”
What an amazing, eye-opening realization!! – That God the Father chose you and me to be taught by Him, through His Spirit, to receive His Truth. But, most importantly, to be fed, to be spiritually nourished and strengthened by the very Bread of Life Himself – His Divine Son!
The question then begs itself to be asked – “Why me? Why was I chosen at this moment in time to be His follower, His disciple?”
And it is a question which shall remain unanswered on this side of Heaven, for it is one of the mysteries of God. The only thing that each of us can say in prayer every morning is “Thank you” from the very depths of our heart and soul to our Heavenly Father for His indescribable Love which He has shown us, and the unfathomable Mercy which He extends to us through His Love.
But this gift of faith in God’s Son is not a guarantee of eternal life. Our response to this gift is what determines where we shall spend our eternity. We also have another gift from God at the very moment of our conception – the gift of “free will”.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that, “Angels and men, as intelligent and free creatures, have to journey toward their ultimate destinies by their free choice and preferential love. They can therefore go astray. Indeed, they have sinned…God is in no way, directly or indirectly, the cause of moral evil. He permits it, however, because he respects the freedom of his creatures and, mysteriously, knows how to derive good from it.”
In other words, God allows us a free hand in how we choose to live our lives and what we do to our souls. It is His deepest desire, however, that we live morally good lives, that we obey the precepts of His Church, embrace the Beatitudes and obey all His Commandments.
And Saint Paul teaches us today what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ – “All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us…”
And Saint John tells us in his Third Epistle, “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does what is good is of God; whoever does what is evil has never seen God.”
And our Lord, Himself, once said, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” This “yoke” to which Jesus is referring is our obedience to His word, from which we shall find and enjoy eternal rest – a peace the likes of which this world cannot give.
Each one of us is endowed with an immortal soul. And due to the gift of faith, and our Heavenly Father’s invitation to believe in His Son, you and I are obliged to follow the moral law, which urges us to do what is good and virtuous, and to avoid what is evil and unholy.
And we are not unfamiliar with this moral law, for the Holy Spirit makes it known to us in our consciences, and we fulfill its requirements by means of our love for God and our selfless love for our neighbor.
Remember our Lord’s words today, “They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.”
Our Heavenly and Eternal Father, whose will it is that we spend our eternity with Him in His Heavenly Kingdom, has made it easier for us to attain this goal by bringing us to an awareness of who Jesus truly is. He has sent His Spirit to teach us about the “Bread of Life” and the “Cup of Eternal Salvation” made available to us through the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist – the Holy Mass.
And our psalmist reminds us today of God’s infinite and indescribable Love which He has for all His children, “Taste and see how good the LORD is; blessed the man who takes refuge in him.”
Through His Spirit, He has opened the eyes and ears of our very hearts and souls to the Living Presence of Jesus Christ. Through the words of the priest and the power of the Holy Spirit, bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Risen Christ as the means for our spiritual nourishment – which enables us to continue our journey through life, strengthening us for the many trials and difficulties which we shall experience as our Lord’s disciples.
Today, the Readings are all about food. What is most important, however, is the food which nourishes for an eternity, the food which feeds and strengthens the soul, not only in this life on this side of the eternal, but also that which sustains us in our preparation for that final journey which each of us will one day make.
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “…the angel of the LORD…touched [Elijah], and said, “Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!” He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.” (1 Kings 19:7-8)
- “I sought the LORD, and he answered me, delivered me from all my fears…The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he saves them. Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the stalwart one who takes refuge in him.” (Psalm 34:5, 8-9)
- “It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.” (John 6:45)
- “All your children shall be taught by the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:13)
- “Teach us to know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart.” (Psalm 90:12)
- “So, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, rooted in him and built upon him and established in the faith as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7)
- “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)
- And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us…” (Ephesians 4:31-32; 5:1-2a)
- “Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good. Whoever does what is good is of God; whoever does what is evil has never seen God.” (3 John 1:11)
- “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me…For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:29a, 30)
- “Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.’” (John 6:35)
- “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:51)
Prayer for the Day
“Jesus, my Lord and my Savior,Anonymous
I confess that I am a sinner.
But in Your goodness,
You invite me to approach Your Holy Table
and to partake of Your Heavenly Banquet.
“Trusting in Your Mercy,
I come to You with confidence,
albeit with it a contrite and humbled heart.
Come to me, Lord Jesus,
and keep me in Your Love.
“Lord, I am not worthy
that You should enter under my roof.
Say but the word,
and my soul shall be healed.
“Help me to recognize You
in the Consecrated bread and wine.
Feed me with Your Most Precious Body and Blood;
nourish and strengthen me in my life of faith.
“Help me with Your grace to live a virtuous life,
fulfilling all that You have asked of me.
For it is only in You, Jesus, where I find my true faith;
it is only in You where I find my eternal salvation.”