•I Kings 19:19: 4-8; Ephesians 4: 30 – 5:2; John 6: 41-51•
Weekly Scripture Readings: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel, “bread” is mentioned six times. There are literally hundreds of different varieties of bread, many ingredients, many people yearning to be fed. Ironically that word “bread” has not been around for all that long. Until around 1200 of the Common Era, the universal word for “bread” was “loaf.” Thankfully there are still some parishes in which authentic, identifiable bread continues to be blesssed, broken and consumed at the Table of Eucharist.
Like bread, human beings are multi-cultural, multi-faceted and diverse. In common with them all, we share a yearning for nourishment. We all seek “the bread of life.”
John’s Jesus tells the crowd, “I am the bread of life.” “If anyone eats of this bread, he (she) will live forever.” We believe that when we eat Eucharist and take him into our lives, we become Christ, and live differently.
Seventy years ago today — August 9 — our nation dropped a nuclear bomb on a Japanese city –Nagasaki! Ponder the absolute contradiction: “I am the bread of life” — Nagasaki!
Eucharist is central to my spiritual life as I presume it is for yours as well. That is why I see the absolute contradiction between his words — “I am the bread of life,” and what we did to Hiroshima and Nagasaki. We so easily forget.
My concern is that while affirming the words of John’s Jesus we can fail to grasp or appreciate the profound implications of Eucharist. When we don’t grasp or appreciate those implications, we get caught up in magic and power.
The anniversary dates of the nuclear bombs we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki provide a reality check — for our faith.
Be a Catholic/Christian. Live as friends, companions, disciples of Jesus of Nazareth. Live a life of a trustful relationship with Jesus Christ. Choose to live in Christ. Welcome him to live in you. Learn to think, feel, love, work, suffer and live like Jesus. Identify with his project of “God’s new reality.” Enable that “new reality” to emerge in our world today. Refuse to participate in evil like Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki negate the possibility of “God’s new reality.” They negate Christ and everything that Jesus taught and lived. They negate the meaning of Eucharist so thoroughly that unless we turn entirely away from the Hiroshima mentality, our eating the bread and drinking the wine of Eucharist mean nothing!
Our nation signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and rightly insists that neither Iran nor any other nation build nuclear weapons. Yet the U.S. government currently is investing in three new H-bomb factories and plans to build up to 80 new warheads every year until 2027!!! With istress Archbishop Hunthausen recently told me the Pentagon proposes replacing our Trident submarine fleet with newer and far more expensive nuclear submarines.
According to John, Jesus of Nazareth is “the bread of life.” I believe he is source and sustainer of life, new life with a new quality, eternal life. “If anyone eats this bread, he (she) will live forever!” Foster your relationship with Jesus the Christ. Allow him to nourish you with his creative Spirit so you learn to think, feel, love, work, suffer and live like him. Bread. All people yearn for life; yearn to be fed with bread. “I am the bread of life.” “Let me nourish you with strength, light, hope, and life-giving inspiration.” “Eat of this bread and welcome me into your life. Eat of this bread and live differently.” He is serious. “I am the bread of life.” Let us be serious as well.