18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)


18th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (B) Jn 6: 24-35 - Aug 05, 2018

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst”.

Luke the Evangelist tells us the beginning of our history of salvation through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ: the announcement of Jesus´ birth, his nativity, and his infancy narrative, in chapters one and two. Saint John in his Gospel does not bring up the private life of Jesus before his introduction by John the Baptist to his disciples. There should not be any wonder that now in chapter six John the Evangelist tells us the purpose of Jesus´ coming to be always with us, as the bread of life, in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

During five Sundays we will be reading the entire sixth chapter from Saint John. John does not relate the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, but he does give us a background miracle of the bread and the sermon of the living bread, a teaching for us to appreciate the doctrine of the Holy Eucharist.

This is the way sixth chapter has been divided over five Sundays in the Ordinary time:

1.John 6: 1-15: John narrates this forth sign of Jesus that we traditionally call the miracle of the multiplication of the bread. Jesus gave enough food to a hungry crowd of over five thousand people out of only five barley loaves and two fish. We read this Gospel on last Sunday. We are very familiar with this, the only miracle told by the four evangelists. Without doubt Jesus had in mind the Eucharist, as we hear: “Jesus took the bread, gave thanks, and distributed to them.”

2. John 6: 24-35: This Sunday we hear that the crowd went looking for Jesus and found him in Capernaum. There, at the synagogue, Jesus reprimanded them a little bit, but also took advantage of the situation to teach them, “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.” When the Jews ask for a sign so that they may believe in him, he says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst”.

3. John 6: 41-51: Jesus tells the Jews that it is necessary first to believe in him and to accept him in order to believe that he is the bread of life. Faith in Jesus makes us believe in his words and deeds.

4. John 6: 51-58: Jesus clearly makes a strong statement at this part of his Eucharistic sermon: “The bread that I will give you is my flesh for the life of the world (…) My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”

5. John 6: 60-69: The Eucharist is a matter of faith. It cannot be understood in a physical way. Those who are not believers had asked, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” This provokes a rupture, “Many of his disciples broke away and would not remain in his company any longer.” Only Peter and the real disciples would remain, “Lord, to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life.”

When Jesus tells his disciples, in today´s Gospel, not to worry for the perishable food, like the one the Israelites ate in the desert, even the one they themselves ate at the miracle of the bread and the fish, the Jews ask him for the bread that lasts. At this point Jesus answers that he can give them bread that last forever. He is that bread of life, his real presence that nourishes us always; and Jesus means the Holy Eucharist, and it is ours for the asking. He also tells us today, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst”.

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