By Fr. Andrew Kelly
19TH SUNDAY ORDINAL TIME – AUG. 12
When believers hear “I am the bread of life” in Sunday’s Gospel (John 6:41-51), often attention is immediately focused on the dry bread believed to be transformed into the body of Christ.
But in John’s Gospel “bread of life” means much more. In the Hebrew writings (Old Testament) “bread” was a symbol used for the Torah (Law). To eat “bread” meant listening to, studying, and learning God’s revelation as expressed in the Torah.
In John’s Gospel, Jesus’ person, words and deeds are now what reveal who and how God is. To eat Jesus as “the bread of life” is described as:
“…‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.”
In Sunday worship it is always Jesus’ word, body and blood that are consumed. If the “Word” of Scriptures is not seen as the “bread of life” then the dry bread and cheap wine as body and blood really have little or no meaning at all.
It is Sunday’s “Word” as bread that fulfills the Gospel words: “…‘And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.”
(Father Andrew Kelly is a retired priest of the Diocese of Davenport.)
Scripture Readings for Aug. 12-19
1 Kgs 19:4-8
Ez 1:2-5, 24-28c
Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
Rv 11:19a; 12:1-6a, 10ab
1 Cor 15:20-27
Ez 16:1-15, 60, 63
or Ez 16:59-63
Ez 18:1-10, 13b, 30-32