Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)
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.” John 6:34–35 They were hungry, and they wanted Jesus to perform a miracle like He had recently done. They wanted Him to multiply loaves and fishes for the crowds. Perhaps they were curious or perhaps they were hungry. But Jesus directs them to so much more. This passage begins Jesus’ discourse on the Bread of Life, which will be read at Sunday Mass for the next few weeks. We will see in this discourse Jesus giving His followers so much more than mere bread and fish. We listen to Him speak of Himself as the true Bread from Heaven. Sadly, many reject this precious teaching and gift and go their own way. But what about you? How often have you truly pondered these words of Jesus? “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst!” Do you believe this? Deep within every human heart is a hunger and thirst that longs to be satisfied. We all have this longing and desire. We try to fill it with so many things, but in the end only one thing satisfies. Jesus alone can satiate the deepest longings of our souls. Again, do you believe this? And if you do believe it in your head, do you believe it with your actions? Do you turn to Him as the source of your daily fulfillment and satisfaction? When you go to Mass, do you long to receive Him and love Him and enter into Communion with Him? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Most likely we all need to redirect our desires toward our glorious Savior, especially as He comes to us in the Most Holy Eucharist. Reflect, today, upon how deeply you believe in these words of Jesus. Do you regularly meet Him in the Eucharist? Do you allow His presence to consume you as you consume Him? If you cannot say “Yes” to this in a complete and definitive way, resolve today to renew your love for our Lord in this glorious Sacrament. Lord, I do love You, and I desire You to come and consume me as I consume You in the Most Holy Eucharist. Help me to believe in You and Your presence in this Most Holy Sacrament. May Your divine presence meet my deepest need and fulfill my deepest longings in life. Jesus, I trust in You..
WORDS & REFLECTIONS FROM FR. UJU
Meditation: 17 - 18 July 2021,
Meditation: How do we achieve success and victory in our lives? In everyone's life there are key moments or turning points on which the whole of one's life hinges. The mounting confrontation between the Pharisees and Jesus was such a decisive event and crisis. The religious leaders became intolerant of Jesus because of their prejudice. Nothing that Jesus would do or say from this point on would be right in their eyes. They conspired, not simply to oppose Jesus but to eliminate him.
Courage and determination to do God's will
Jesus met this defiance with courage and determination to do his Father's will. He used the crisis to teach his disciples an important lesson for God's way to success and victory. The only way to glory in God's kingdom is through the cross - the cross of suffering and humiliation - which Jesus endured for our sake and for our salvation. We, too, are called to take up our cross every day - to die to sin, selfishness, envy, pride, strife, and hatred - and to lay down our lives in humble service and love for one another, just as Jesus did for our sake.
Matthew quotes from the "Suffering Servant" prophecies of Isaiah to explain how Jesus the Messiah would accomplish his mission - not through crushing power - but through love and sacrificial service (Isaiah 42:1-4). In place of a throne Jesus chose to mount the cross and wear a crown of thorns. He was crucified as our Lord and King (John 19:19; Philippians 2:11) There is no greater proof of God's love for us than the sacrificial death of his only begotten Son for our sake and our salvation (John 3:16).
Jesus died not only for the Jews but for all the Gentile nations as well. Isaiah had prophesied centuries before, that the Messiah would bring justice to the Gentiles. To the Greek mind, justice involved giving to God and to one's fellow citizen that which is their due (whatever is owed to them). Jesus taught his disciples to give God not only his due, but to love him without measure just as he loves us unconditionally - without limits or reservation.