Sunday, August 2, 2015

18th Sunday Ordinary Time - John 6:24-35 - 'Food for Life'

We are a fickle people.  In this we must be truly amazed at God’s faithfulness and His love for us.

We hear of the Israelites complaining to Moses and Aaron that their new life of liberation was too hard for them.  In slavery they were given food to eat and places to rest – no matter how poor and despicable.  In their short and convenient memory, living in slavery was not so bad compared to their present lives of living in God’s promise of a land of their own and freedom from captivity.  Despite all they witnessed of what God has done for them, they cry out against Him; lacking in faith and trust in His word of promise.
Their immediate comforts take precedence over God’s promise.  The growling in their empty bellies and their parched throats are enough for them to desire a return to their miserable life in slavery over God’s promised gift of freedom.  The expediency of immediate gratification surpasses the sacrifice needed for true liberation and a new life of eternal joy and peace.

During their captivity in Egypt, the people cried out to God to set them free from bondage.  They cried for release from the hardship of their desperate lives, so they may have a new life – a life of peace and prosperity; living in a land of milk and honey.  
While bearing their yoke of enslavement, they prayed to God to hear and answer their cries for mercy.  They swore faithfulness to the God of their fathers, the God who promised to set them free.    For all their years in slavery, they held true to their faith in God as their hope for freedom and a new life.

God calls us all, His children, to this new life.  This new life is not our old life without the things that are bothersome or troubling.  No, this is not our old life with a do-over.  This call to new life is a radical departure from the old ways in which we live.  By our baptism we are called to put on this new life in Christ Jesus.  H calls us away from who we were to become who we really are – children of God - a new creation – “renewed in the spirit of our (your) minds and putting (put) on a (the) new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” 

John’s Gospel, tells us of how the people followed after Jesus because he fed them.  Their immediate need for nourishment were met and they worried about receiving their next meal – such is life.  They worried about this life and this world, not knowing or understanding the truth of Jesus.  Still thinking about filling their bellies, they ask Jesus what they must do to get their next meal.  

He tells them that they are to seek the food that will bring them eternal life.  Food, not sufficient for the day, but lasting food for all eternity – belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom the Father has sent into the world.

It is Jesus who is this food of everlasting life, the bread that comes down from heaven.  Jesus is the food the Father sends His children, in His love and faithfulness, to nourish them and fill them.  Belief in the Father through His Son, Jesus brings us to our new life.  Jesus Christ is the One who brings us new life in His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity; sustaining and renewing us, so we may never be hungry: never be thirsty again – Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life Eternal.  ~ Amen.
Deacon Don

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