Reflection on the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings start with a story from the Book of Kings, concerning the prophet Elijah, who has fallen into trouble with the powers that be. He fears he’ll be killed, so he was running for his life. He goes to the desert and prays to die. I guess he was pretty scared.
But he falls asleep — until an angel wakes him up, and he finds he has been provided with a delicious hearth cake and a jug of water right near his head! The angel wont let him stay there, so he has to keep walking — 40 days and 40 nights till he gets to the mountain of God. That’s the story briefly told, but it gives us a sense of the fidelity of God, who takes care of Elijah, providing him with what he needs to fulfill what God has asked, providing him with a good breakfast.
The second reading picks up an event from the life of Jesus, maybe to introduce Jesus’ calling himself with the words, “the bread that comes down from heaven.”
Jesus then cites the passage from John. Perhaps he wished to leave his disciples with a convenient way to remember him: Jesus as the one who was teaching them to live in the conscious presence of God, whom he knew as a loving Father. He could — and he did — call on his Father, knowing he could, and would provide him with all he needed: a loving presence and a presence with and in all who would gather as his disciples.
Jesus is present in many forms. He gave his life to teach us what matters and what doesn’t, to help us to find what our role must be as humans.
We don’t realize that presence. We could ask for wisdom, strength and courage, remember to be grateful for beauty, or goodness, for the gift of life itself. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Do we notice?
The question now is, how might we recognize Jesus are our bread of life — in this culture? Take a moment to think about it. What might that mean: “the Bread of life?”
What is the bread of your life? What feeds you, feeds your spirit? The word “bread” may carry more meaning than we realize: it implies something that feeds, provides life, provides energies that stir fruitful actions. Maybe we think of persons that are providing homes for migrants, medical help for suffering, — you can name friends who are sharing life-giving energies, enriching life in many ways, some visible, some not. All feeding life.
Take some time to think of your life, what enriches your life, what is creative in your life? Could that be the presence of Jesus? Can you find Jesus as the bread of your life?