August 1, 2021 — Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
EX 16:2-4, 12-15; PS 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54; EPH 4:17, 20-24; JN 6:24-35
Last week we heard about Jesus multiplying the loaves of bread and fish for a large crowd. All who were there ate and were satisfied. The multiplication of the loaves prefigures Jesus at the Last Supper and every Eucharistic meal we celebrate at Mass.
Our Eucharistic meal is the Spiritual Food that we consume — Jesus Himself, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. It will satisfy us as Jesus says, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
We all have a need to be satisfied. It is in our humanity. It might feel like something is missing in our lives, we always want more, or we are constantly looking to the next moment. The ‘now’ is not good enough, we do not feel complete.
And in that incompleteness, we grab at what surrounds us to satisfy our hearts. It could be the next job promotion, the comforts in our homes, the next trip we plan to take, the new house we want to buy, or even taking the next stage in our vocation — marriage, new baby, becoming a grandparent. The list goes on. We might think to ourselves, ‘then I will be happier.’ Or maybe we don’t even realize how we are relying on those things or events in our lives.
And while many of those things are good and bring us joy, they are only a small glimpse of the deeper, lasting happiness that the Lord offers us. They are gifts that should remind us of our Good and Gracious Creator. Instead of placing undue importance on those things or people, place it on Jesus, as He says, “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” He is the One who fills our hearts.
So how do we order our minds and hearts so that Jesus is our source of fulfillment? Simply by responding to His invitation to “come to Him.”
We come to Jesus when we receive the Bread of Life at every Mass. The moment we receive the Eucharist, we are sustained and strengthened on our journey to eternal life.
Yet to carry Jesus in our minds and hearts all week long, we must respond to His invitation to “come to Him” in other ways as well.
Jesus wants us to come to Him in daily prayer by sitting in silence, praising Him for blessings, and asking Him for guidance. He wants us to come to Him throughout our day-to-day moments — acknowledging His presence, thanking Him for good news received, or calling on Him in a weak or hard moment. He wants us to come to Him as we serve our families, friends, and community at large, remembering that as we serve others, we are serving Christ Himself.
It is simply by letting Him be the One we go to first. It is in those moments that we begin to seek Him as our source of fulfillment in this life.
As you go about your day-to-day lives this week, try to recognize the times you are “working for food that perishes” by seeking things of the world to satisfy your heart. In those moments, recall that everything we have is a gift from God. Instead of misusing that gift, offer a prayer of thanksgiving for all He has given to you. Then respond to Jesus’ invitation to “come to Him” by speaking with Him throughout your day.