Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (August 5, 2018): Working hard for what matters most.

Thứ Bảy, 04-08-2018 | 14:45:35

Today’s Readings:

Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Ps 78:3-4, 23-25, 54
Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
John 6:24-35

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

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.”

Good News Reflection: Working hard for what matters most

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus says: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.” In other words: In your daily life, work hard to obtain whatever will nourish your soul and sustain you past death into eternity.

Jesus says: “The work God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent.” Why does he call this “work”?

To fully believe, we must work at getting rid of every doubt and distrust that interferes with our belief in Christ, our trust in his words (including what he inspired in the official teachings of the Church), and our willingness to conform to his way of life.

This work requires (1) identifying our vulnerabilities that make us doubt and distrust, (2) uncovering what we’re afraid will happen if we do trust, and (3) overcoming that fear by gaining a better understanding of the truth. Any fear that interferes with our holiness is always based on something untrue.

Jesus says: “The bread of God, which nourishes your soul, is that which comes down from heaven and gives life.” He’s referring to his presence in the Eucharist, the bread that he provides in every Mass. What do you need to do so that you can be nourished more fully by the Eucharist? Is there something that’s stopping you from receiving the Eucharist? Work hard to remedy that obstacle! It will make a difference to your eternal soul. If you’re sincere about uniting yourself to Christ, he will make possible whatever is needed to clear the way.

Because the Eucharist is Jesus, it can heal us, purify us, and help us become more like Christ himself. However, it takes conscious effort to fully embrace this opportunity. Why would we want to be lazy about that? The benefits of hard work in our faith life will endure for eternity.

NOTE: Pope John Paul II wrote an entire encyclical about this, entitled Ecclesia de Eucharistia (“The Church of the Eucharist”). In it, he tells us that we’re on a journey to heaven and that the presence of Christ in the Eucharist helps us stay on course.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
Do you believe you’re going to go to heaven after you die? (If you’re thinking “no, I’m going to purgatory” then the answer is really yes, because purgatory is not a stopping place, it’s a purging place before entering into the fullness of heaven.) What raises doubts in your mind? What in your relationship with Jesus needs more work so that your belief in him will give you confident hope that he is guiding you to heaven?

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
How has the Eucharist helped you stay on course on your journey to heaven? How has it changed you, purified you? Is it possible that Christ’s true presence in the Eucharist can also help those who are unable to receive communion? How so?

Today’s Prayer:

My Lord: May my love for You move me to search and announce the good news boldly and with perseverance. Thank you Lord, because Your work in me goes beyond my own existence in this world. Amen.

© 2018 by Terry A. Modica

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