August 1, 2021 - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
“The Lord gave them bread from heaven.”
Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Letter of St. Paul to the Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
Gospel according to John 6:24-35
by Sister Dorothy Jean Beyer, OSB
In your life, have you ever felt like you were in a desert like the Israelites, seemingly abandoned and forsaken by God and you turned to grumbling and complaining like them? These beautiful Sunday readings bring us comforting words from Moses, St. Paul and St. John for times of crisis and hardship. Moses told the people, “This is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.” St. Paul writing to the Ephesians encourages them to “put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” St. John records the wondrous words of Jesus, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Let us rejoice in these words of life and truth, even in difficult times. These words give us continual consolation and comfort.
The Responsorial Psalm response summarizes the readings for this Sunday. “The Lord gave them bread from heaven.” God always gives us more that we can ever imagine. God gives us bread from heaven. Amazing, life-giving bread from heaven. His own Body and Blood. Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. Yet, we often complain like the Israelites in the desert. Yes, we like to grumble. Yet, our loving and gracious God gives us more than we can wildly imagine. All we need to do is call and He will answer with his generous gifts of grace in abundance.
However, we forget like the Israelites. Our thoughts turn to fear and to anxiety. We turn in on ourselves, to self-pity, despair, self-righteous anger.
Today, let us remember “the glorious deeds of the Lord and his strength and the wonders that he wrought.” (Responsorial Psalm) The Lord draws always near to us and answers our prayers with unceasing kindness. Let us embrace these words with hope and trust. Listen to what your heart tells you. Yes, the Lord is indeed kind and merciful to me. Such sweetness to embrace. We know the kindness of our God. Let us pass it on to those we meet each day.
From the Rule of St. Benedict
“Do not grumble…Place your hope in God alone.” Rule 4:39, 41
“One does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4b