18th Sunday in Ordinary Time - August 6, 2018 (Thoman)

18th Sunday – Cycle B – 2018 Ex 16:2-4, 12-15
August 5, 2018 Eph 4:17, 20-24
Holy Spirit (HG) Jn 6:24-35

I. (Mass welcome)

  • sometimes it’s easy to get distracted…to lose focus…we get worried and
    concerned about various things and become challenged with routine tasks or
    we start to forget what is really important
  • perhaps you’ve been following the church chatter the past couple of weeks
    among the bishops about the Church’s continuing struggles with sex abuse:
    of how bishops are realizing there has been abuse not only of children, but of
    adults as well…of bishops and others in the Church not spoken up more
    vigorously for the protection of both children and adults, of how they have
    not listened to reports and complaints…
  • this can have a very dispiriting effect on us as we struggle to live holy and
    virtuous lives – only to learn that leaders and responsible people in the
    Church have not done their job in leading us to grow as disciples of Jesus
  • add to that the constant media chatter about all the issues of the world; if we
    spend our time watching the talking heads on TV we are sure to get
    depressed…angry…grumble and complain just like the Israelites in the
  • and then just our own daily struggles to make a living…and keep family life

Perhaps it becomes necessary, from time to time, to take a breather – to stick our
head above the water and take a deep breath! We may need to take time to sort
things out…to gain perspective…to focus on what is really important. In the
words of today’s scripture – to look beyond the surface to something deeper.

II. In today’s gospel Jesus is challenging the people to look beyond their surface
hungers and to go deeper.

  • you will recall from last Sunday’s gospel that the people following Jesus had
    the experience of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes: they were
    hungry and Jesus fed them
  • so the next day they are hungry again and go to look up Jesus – hoping he will
    provide another free lunch
  • but Jesus says to them – you are looking for me because you want a free
    lunch – I’m asking you to look beyond and see the deeper meaning of the
    food I provided. “Do not look for food that perishes, but for the food that
    endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
  • and then they begin to ask questions and Jesus leads them through a process
    of deepening faith: well, who are you – and how can you prove it – and what
    do we have to do?
  • Jesus says they simply must believe in the one the Father sent
  • in the end they are asking for this bread and Jesus says, “I am the bread of
    life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me
    will never thirst.”

IV. The constant barrage of things that are foisted upon us is the food that perishes.

As distressing and even important many of those things are…that’s not really
what is ultimately important, what is of profound importance.
Or, maybe to put it another way, what helps us to gain perspective and sanity
is to look beyond all of the distressing anxieties of life and focus on our faith and
relationship with Jesus. Our deep, heartfelt faith, is the food that endures
forever. It’s not about the sins of the Church – the disappointment and hurt we
feel – the pain we carry worrying about the violence, the crime, the pure
insanity of the world’s issues.
It’s our faith which helps us to gain and maintain perspective. It is Jesus and
our relationship with Jesus that is our ultimate strength.
In the words of St. Paul, don’t be like the Gentiles living in the “futility of their
minds” but put on Christ.

VI. We gather today around the Bread of Life. We come to receive the Eucharist –
the very One sent by the Father to fulfill our deepest hungers. May it sustain us
for the challenges of life and give us strength to be bread for others.
Fr. Dwayne Thoman