The Pastor's Column

Fr. Lara's Lines

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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

We take care of our bodies in many ways. We go to the gym, work out, do yoga, play sports, take walks, etc. We go on diets, eat healthy, see a doctor for a yearly checkup, take vitamins, etc. Saint John Paul II reflected on the dignity of the human person in what he called the theology of the body. He stated his idea by saying that our bodies are sacred. We say we are temples of the Holy Spirit. We need to preserve the dignity of the human person by loving our bodies.

We love our bodies and enjoy the pleasures of this world. But we know that we are must than just bodies. We know we are not just animals with bigger brains. We are social animals, we are rational beings, we are human beings, which means we have a body and a soul which makes us different, special, worthy in the eyes of God.

Last Sunday’s gospel was about Jesus feeding the crowds. It was about feeding the body with two fish and five loaves. Today we hear in the gospel how the same people, the same crowd heard that Jesus was on the other side of the lake and followed him. Jesus 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.”

The crowd wondered where they could get that food. And Jesus said again “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.” 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.”

Jesus made an enormous claim. He told his disciples that what they needed deep in their hearts he would give them He is also telling us that our deepest desires will only be satisfied by Him. Anything in this world will give us a temporary pleasure but it will never fulfill our longing for eternal life. Jesus said, I am the bread of life. Jesus is the food that nourishes our minds, our hearts, our souls. We need to look for that food that lasts forever. That’s why we come to Church every Sunday, not because Jesus is feeding our bodies but because he is saving us in body and soul.

Jesus refers to himself as the true bread, and we know that true bread is the Eucharist. This is why we say that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The Eucharist is the sacrament that gives us life in God. It is life support for our souls and strength for our hearts.

During the presentation of the gifts, the priest says: “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you, fruit of the earth and work of human hands; it will become for us the bread of life.” Let us marvel at the miracle of the Eucharist and ask God to give us this bread always.

Fr. Lara

Live the Liturgy
When we lose our ability to trust, we become afraid. When we are afraid, we may begin to grumble and question whether where we are is where we need to be. For us who have faith, we even question whether God is who God says He is. Trust is so important to our success on our journey. Often, the road of our lives can become a bit treacherous. We may find ourselves feeling more unsettled than comfortable and less fulfilled than we would like to be. As much as we try, the pieces of our puzzle don’t quite fit together as they ought. We wonder if we will ever experience happiness again. Then, something reminds us that God is very much present in this mess we call life. God still brings hope out of despair and life out of death. After all, God is the true bread that comes down from heaven to give life. What is necessary is for us to trust in this truth, even when we may lack some of life’s essentials. God who gives life also sustains it and assures us that we will not perish.