Bread of Life

Bread of Life

By Lisa Fernandes

In our Lord’s Prayer Jesus taught us to say “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6.11). At the Last Supper Jesus said “Take and eat; this is my body” (Matthew 26:26). And the name of Jesus’ birthplace, Bethlehem, literally translates as house of bread. Bread is mentioned many times in the Bible, at least 492 times in the original text. Why bread? Bread has long been an essential part of life. A recent article detailed an archaeological find in northeastern Jordan from 14,400 years ago suggesting humans were making plant-based bread thousands of years before agriculture. I literally break bread every Friday with my family when we get together for dinner. I also recently started baking bread. I find it a mindful experience and fulfilling especially when I do the kneading by hand – and it is special because it is for my family. In the first reading we hear the children of Israel on their Exodus en route to the promised land, complaining that they should have stayed home where they had their fill of bread. The Lord responds by saying 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” (Exodus 16.4). God delivers the bread the next morning as nourishment called manna thus fulfilling his promise. So bread in this way is a renewing of the physical body. The second reading tells us that we have to rejuvenate ourselves with the spirit of the mind: as Jesus says …”to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to cloth yourselves with the New Man, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 23-24). Here Jesus talks about bread not only as physical but spiritual food. In the Gospel reading the theme of the bread of life continues. Bread is transformed from physical to spiritual as Jesus says: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6.35). And of course after the Gospel, during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the purely physical bread becomes transubstantiated into the body of Christ.

 

Sunday’s Readings: Jeremiah 23.1-6 Psalm 23 Ephesians 2.13-18 Mark 6.30-34

Time Away

Time Away

By Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB

In today’s Gospel we see that Jesus and the disciples were so overwhelmed with the needs and demands of others that they need time to get away, to think and pray, to plan and dream, and to rest and regroup. The Gospel of Mark tells us that they were so busy that they couldn’t even find time to eat. So Jesus says to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” There are times when we need to get away and tend to ourselves. If we don’t take time for ourselves, our bodies will take it for us. How often have you found yourself trying to fight off a yawn or stay awake at a meeting? We know that more serious things that can happen if we don’t take the time to rest or exercise, to slow down and calm down. We can also find ourselves lonely if we do not make quality time to be with friends and family. And we need time for prayer; personal time, for private prayer and time to pray in community. Psalm 23 reminds us that, “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want. Fresh and green are the pastures where he gives me repose; Near restful waters he leads me; to revive my drooping spirit.” But that doesn’t excuse us from being aware of the world around us. Today’s Gospel points us back to the world we leave behind as we tend to our personal or communal needs. From their private place Jesus looks and sees all those who were still seeking healing and comfort from him. The Gospel tells us that later Jesus, “saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things”.

Sunday’s Readings: Jeremiah 23.1-6 Psalm 23 Ephesians 2.13-18 Mark 6.30-34

Doing the Hard Work

Doing the Hard Work

By Elizabeth Chesley-Jewell

In the Atrium when we speak about the liturgical seasons we tell the children that, “green is for the growing time.” The idea of growing is brought to life when we talk about the kingdom of God being like a grain of wheat, a mustard seed, or how Jesus is the true vine and we are the branches. In each of these instances we focus on growth being something joyful and miraculous, like how a seed can break open so that a mighty stalk of wheat may emerge. The readings for this week emphasize more of the hard work that we as humans must put into our relationship with Jesus. In the gospel, Jesus returns to his hometown and despite being one of their own the townspeople could not believe in him. Their hearts and minds were blocked possibly by fear, envy, and pride. They were unable to recognize these weaknesses as a problem and, in doing so, could not put their faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Instead of placing their trust in Him they turned away. In the second reading Paul shows that hard work must occur to keep our relationship with Jesus growing. In times of suffering Paul turns to the Lord and asks him to remove his sufferings. Jesus responds, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” This allows Paul to realize that he has no greater companion in his suffering than Jesus Christ who suffered and died for the sins of humanity. Paul tells us, “whenever I am weak, then I am strong.” Strength comes from turning to Jesus in our suffering, whether we are angry, scared, or in pain. The simple act of turning to Jesus shows our faith in Him, and in turn, we do receive peace and grace. Personally, I suffer from anxiety which can lead to immense feelings of fear and sadness. During these moments of anxiety my relationship with Jesus can drift to the way side. I’m like Paul, begging for my anxiety to leave me instead of seeking comfort and understanding from my compassionate God. I still have belief, but my fear is getting in the way of my relationship. The hard work is breaking myself open, so I may be completely vulnerable and place all my suffering in the hands of Jesus Christ. Everyone of us has weaknesses and experiences pain and suffering. Today, let us place our weaknesses in the hands of our compassionate Lord Jesus Christ and allow ourselves to find strength in his healing love.

Sunday’s Readings:

  • Ezekiel 2.3-5
  • Psalm 123
  • 2 Corinthians 12.7-10
  • Mark 6.1-6