Homily Nineteenth Sunday Year B I am the Bread of Life

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Homily Nineteenth Sunday Year B

Reading 1: Background: Elijah was the lone prophet of God in Israel at the time of King Ahaz and Queen Jezebel. She had convinced her husband to set up temples to her gods and to set up prophets to serve in these temples. Elijah confronted these false prophets and had them killed. Jezebel swore to take Elijah’s life.

Elijah flees. He wanted to give up the prophetic ministry and just die. But God had other plans for him. Will he give in to his desires or be obedient to God, trusting in his providential care. You ever felt that way? And yet God had other plans for you too.

Again, God provides nourishment for Elijah in a providential manner. Will God not take care of our lives as well? He had a destination and a purpose still to be accomplished—to follow the way of the Lord, to hear the word of the Lord and to act on the word of the Lord. He chose to do what God told him in that present moment. His relationship with God was more important than his human fears or desires.

Elijah is sent to the Mt. of Horeb, where the Israelites of old heard the voice of God. There God will give Elijah the next part of God’s plan. It is in the whisper of the wind that Elijah recognized the voice of God. Sometimes when things seem hopeless and we are at the end of our rope, hanging on by our finger tips, God shows us the next step in our journey to him. Obey, Listen and Act.

Reading 2:  When were we sealed by the Holy Spirit? At Baptism and again at Confirmation. What was the seal for? In the first instance for holiness and in the second to be a witness.

Paul says that we sadden the Holy Spirit when we sin, which is contrary to our call to be holy. We have been redeemed by Jesus, but the day of final redemption is still ahead. It is sin that alienates which will prevent what was begun on the day of baptism and will interrupt the life of relationship with God. All sin must be removed.

Instead, we are to live virtuously. The fundamental virtue is love. But it is love God has shown us through laying down his life for our salvation. What was the offering of Jesus that pleased his Father? Not his suffering or death, but the love in which he embraced the will of the Father.

Gospel: Last Sunday in the first reading, we read that the Israelites murmured in the desert and complained that they did not have food to eat. So God gave them quail in the evening and manna in the morning. They again complained that there was not enough water. They could not accept God for who he was. They made a god of molten gold which they could control.

In the Gospel the people murmured about Jesus. He revealed his true identity to them as well as his mission. He said that he will give them his body to eat and his blood to drink. He revealed that he was the Son of God sent to draw all back to the Father and to raise to life all who believe in him.

They murmured because they had not committed their lives to him. Their relationship was a surface one, ready to look for another if things didn’t go their way. They couldn’t accept Jesus for who he was, let along accept what he said.

Is our relationship with Jesus tenuous as well? We believe up to a point but not totally. We accept some of his teachings, but not all. We want to be in relationship but not seriously confront the sins that hinder a deeper relationship. We want eternal life but on our terms.

Either he is who he says he is or he is not. Either I accept him on face value and embrace his word as true or I leave a back door open. Either I am all in now or I may not be in in the end. Jesus doesn’t modify his identity and teaching for my sake. It is all or nothing.

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