Sometimes we might be tempted to downplay the presence of evil and final judgment…no so, today, in the Gospel of Matthew! The Lord explains a parable with grim consequences for those who choose to follow the path that leads to death and eternal damnation.
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.” John 6:35
We know that our bodies need food to sustain life; what we discover today is that our souls need spiritual food to sustain eternal life. Where do we find this bread from Heaven? Jesus Christ!
Have you ever experienced that feeling when you are exhausted? Out of gas? Wrung out? It is often a sign that we require rest and nourishment; we come to the table to be fed.
The same is true with our souls. There are times when we are intellectually drained, feeling lost and confused, doubting ourselves and uncertain about our next decision. We can feel crushed, worn out by the demands of life and overwhelmed by the challenges that confront us.
What we require is a different type of nourishment – we look to a Person who loves us, understands us, and provides us with the grace and strength, the peace and perspective, to be renewed for the next step on our journey. Christ feeds us with his Body & Blood, so that we might become more fully his disciples; we come to the altar to be fed.
What are you hungry for today? What challenges do you face? May we draw near to the Lord in Holy Communion and allow his love to transform our lives – for this world and for the world to come.
Hunger is one of our most basic needs, a reminder that we are dependent on a steady diet of decent nutrition to thrive. This need also applies to our spiritual lives, and we come to the Lord who feeds us with bread from Heaven.
Sometimes we can take for granted the time we have on earth, delaying important and even crucial tasks until it is too late. The Lord reminds us that in the end there will be a harvest…and the crop we grow will determine our destination in eternal life.
On this feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne – the parents of Mary – we recognize that God often works through people to carry out the plan of salvation. That means that God works through us! May we today say YES to whatever the Lord sets before us as we do our part to be human agents for God’s grace.
The word hunger means many things to different groups of people:
You have the “munchies” and want to graze on snack foods
You hanker for something…but you are not sure what it is
Your stomach is growling and you want to eat
Your blood sugar is dropping and you know you need to eat
You have missed a couple of meals and you are ravenous
You have not eaten in days…and you understand starvation
At it’s most basic level, hunger means that we recognize our need for food to keep our bodies going. While most of us have no awareness of famine, we all have the daily experience of the need to eat. Food is necessary for life, and the quality of the food we eat enhances (or detracts) from the quality of our lives.
The same concept applies to our spiritual lives as well. We certainly need a level of physical health to sustain our spiritual lives, but we also require spiritual sustenance to strengthen our souls and renew our hearts.
Jesus knew this. The people coming to him were hungry – body and soul – and his teaching, feeding, and Eucharist sustained them. What’s more, every time we come to the altar we participate in the banquet of his grace. We continue to receive – Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity – the spiritual food we need to flourish.
Practically, when we come to the table may we pray with grateful hearts for the blessing of nutritious food; when we come to the altar may we pray with grateful hearts for the blessing of Christ. In both cases, the hand of the Lord feeds us, he answers all our needs.
Shepherds brave difficult and stressful conditions in order to protect and provide for the sheep. The Lord does this for us, and as we conform our hearts to Christ we are strengthened to do the same for one another.