18th Sunday Ordinary Time

Children need. Parents provide. This is such a basic equation. The younger the child, the greater the need. Any parent will tell you sacrifices made in order to care for the child. Parents sacrifice sleep, leisure activities, money, and many other things in order to place the needs of the child first. A good parent provides. A good parent nourishes.

It is no wonder that when Jesus was asked how to address God, how to pray, Jesus responded that we should call God “Our Father”. In our Gospel, Jesus repeatedly refers to God as Father.

This powerful image sets up a parallel understanding. The deep love from parent to child is but a glimpse of how much our God loves us. 

In our Scripture today we hear how God provides for the people. He nourishes them. He feeds them. They are crying out in hunger. However they are not newborn babes. The people are adults who are grumbling against God. They had just been freed from slavery in Egypt. As slaves they were crying out to be delivered. God hears their cries and provides for them. He provides a leader in the person of Moses and Aaron. And yet the people continue to grumble and complain. They actually insult God by questioning his plan and saying they were better off as slaves. God responds as a loving parent. He provides quail to eat in the evening and a form of bread to eat in the morning.

How interesting it is that the people don’t know what to do with the bread known as manna. They don’t even know that it is red. It is some thing they have never seen before. Moses has to explain to them that this is sustenance – that this will nourish them.

This really does seem to be like a relationship archetype, meaning a typical construct, a typical dynamic in our relationship with God throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. The people simply do not recognize how God is nourishing them.

In today’s Gospel, the people ask Jesus for a sign. They want to see some evidence of God in Him. How blind they are! They do not see God standing right before them and the person of Jesus. They harken back to the moment of manna in the desert provided by God. Jesus tells them that they have something greater that manner before them. He tells them that He is the Bread of Life.

It begs the question for us in our daily living, do we recognize how God nourishes us? Do we recognize how God provides for us? How much grumbling and complaining do we do against God? Or against others?

Jesus also instructs the people to work for things that do not perish. Do we pursue activities that have eternal worth? For those who have a profession to take acre of others, be assured that it is more than just a job. It is a way to provide God’s care to those in need. What you do has eternal worth.

In this next week let us have two spiritual goals each day. The first goal can be to simply identify, recognize, and give thanks for the way God has taken care of you in some form of blessing. The second spiritual goal is to decide what word or deed, what activity will you do that will have eternal worth? Perhaps you can encourage someone. Perhaps you can affirm someone. Perhaps you can thank someone. Perhaps you can express your love and care for someone. These are the things that have a eternal worth.

Together, let us receive the word of God. Let us be grateful for the love from our God. We are His children. He loves us. He provides for us. He is with us.

First Reading
Ex 16:2-4, 12-15

I will rain down bread from heven for you.

A reading from the Book of Exodus

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them,
   “Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt,
   as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert
   to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses,
   “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.
Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
   thus will I test them,
   to see whether they follow my instructions or not.

“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.
Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
   and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread,
   so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.
In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
   and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert
   were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?”
   for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,
   “This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54

R. :

R. (24b) The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

What we have heard and know,
   and what our fathers have declared to us,
we will declare to the generation to come
   the glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength
   and the wonders that he wrought.

R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

He commanded the skies above
   and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained manna upon them for food
   and gave them heavenly bread.

R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Man ate the bread of angels,
   food he sent them in abundance.
And he brought them to his holy land,
   to the mountains his right hand had won.

R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

Second Reading
Eph 4:17, 20-24

Put on the new self that has been created in God’s way.

A reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians

Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord
   that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do,
   in the futility of their minds;
   that is not how you learned Christ,
   assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
   as truth is in Jesus,
   that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
   corrupted through deceitful desires,
   and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
   and put on the new self,
   created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Acclamation before the Gospel
Mt 4:4b

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

One does not live on bread alone,
but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Jn 6:24-35

Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.

✠ A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
   they themselves got into boats
   and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
   “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
   “Amen, amen, I say to you,
   you are looking for me not because you saw signs
   but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
   but for the food that endures for eternal life,
   which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
   “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
   “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him,
   “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
   He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,
   “Amen, amen, I say to you,
   it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
   my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
   and gives life to the world.”
So they said to him,
   “Sir, give us this bread always.”
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.”

At the end of the Gospel, the Deacon, or the Priest, acclaims:

The Gospel of the Lord.

All reply:

Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

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