Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost:
August 8, 2021
First Reading: 2 Samuel 18:5-9,15,31-33
Second Reading: Ephesians 4:25-5:2
Gospel: John 6:35,41-51
Grant to us, Lord, we pray the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen
Gospel: John 6:35,41-51
Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”
The Jews began to complain about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They knew Jesus when he grew up, they knew who his father and mother were…so how can he be saying” I come down from heaven.”
Jesus has been sent as God himself and Jesus is here to do God’s will, not my own will, but the will of Him who sent me.
The Jews remember Moses, where their bread came from and in Exodus 16:4,16 – Then the Lord God said to Moses, “I am” going to rain bread from heaven for you, and each day the people shall go out and gather enough for that day.
When the Israelites saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.”
The depth of Jesus’ meaning is misunderstood, Jesus himself is God’s gift of sustenance for time and eternity. No one who comes to Jesus who believes in him will be rejected but will have eternal life in the present and resurrection on the last day.
I am, an expression of divinity and oneness with God, Jesus is the bread of life, unless drawn by the Father, allow themselves to hear God’s call through Jesus.
“Jesus is the bread of life”
In the Holy Communion, we are given spiritual grace by the bread and wine, given to us and we receive it by faith. God has provided everything for us to receive natural food to satisfy our needs “When we shop for the ingredients to make bread, flour, wheat, yeast, salt. And when we eat it, we are being fed by God himself who created for us this bread to sustain life.
The Israelites were fed in the wilderness with Manna from heaven and as soon as they were in the land promised to them, they were able to sustain life by growing and harvesting their own bread. But here, they were completely missing the point in what Jesus was saying. What they had before, has now been replaced by him, he is their” Manna” from heaven. Not only will he fulfill their human natural needs, but their spiritual needs.
In Deuteronomy 8:3, the scripture about bread has a deep symbolism: “A person does not live by bread alone but by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” Jesus goes on to say ‘And they shall be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.‘
“I am the Bread of Life” Jesus means that we are not satisfied spiritually unless we know Jesus; and we are not spiritually satisfied unless we have Jesus in our lives. In all the gospels including John’s The disciples of Jesus, treat bread as a source of nourishment for the whole world both physically and spiritually.
St. Ignatius of Loyola, a Spanish Basque Catholic priest and theologian in 1541
The goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of His love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit.
All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth towards our goal.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or property, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.
Jesus himself is God’s gift of sustenance… for time and eternity. No one who comes to Jesus believes in him, will be rejected, but will have eternal life in the present and resurrection on the last day. In filling a spiritual life, the real content of hope is the immortality of the self in eternal life. Spiritual hunger is a hunger within that nothing physical will ever fill. It is a longing to be connected to our Creator.
We tend to fear things a lot, fear of feeding our family, fear of not being able to pay the bills, fear of death. I feared I couldn’t write a good sermon today. 🙂 [editor: Rev. Lola wrote an awesome sermon today!] But fear is meaningless because Christ came into the world. “I am the bread of life: whoever comes to me will never hunger, and worker believes in me will never thirst.”
The greatest need that each of us has is to feed on Christ. Just like in the Old Testament he promises to give us the physical resources for life. The good news is, God’s greatest miracle is found in Jesus. We don’t have to worry, we put our faith in Jesus. Faith is working in us by the Holy Spirit working through Word and Sacraments. He not only feeds us with daily bread but gives us the Bread of Life.
The Rev. Lola Culbreath