Deacon Cornellís Homily

Readings:†††

Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Ephesians 4:17, 20-24 Gospel:
John 6:24-35

Date:

August 4-5, 2018 Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Cycle B

“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

We are in the second of five weeks listening to Chapter 6 of John's Gospel in the middle of year B which is mostly Mark. This chapter, starting especially with today's verses is called the Bread of Life discourse. It is John's equivalent to the institution story of the Eucharist in the 3 synoptic Gospels. As is evident in Jesus words and from the evangelists, we see both in the Exodus story of the manna and fowls from heaven and in the feeding of the 5 thousand in the Gospel a clear prefiguring of the Eucharist.

What Jesus is talking about when He tells us that "the work of God is to believe in the one God sent," is a belief that changes the way we live our lives, or another way of saying it, we live our lives in a way that shows our belief. Let me give you a mundane example: every time any one of us gets in a car and drives some where, we believe that the drivers on the other side of the road will stay on their side. If we did not drive with that belief, we would never get anywhere. We can't guarantee that belief but we act on it. That is the kind of belief we are talking about here.

What would my life look like if I believed in the one God sent?

Well first I would have to live my life in a way that showed that I believe in God, Fatjher, Son and Holy Spirit. In other words my life would show that if God is creator of all things, visible and invisible, then creation has meaning, life has meaning, my life and your life have meaning. And (here is the hard part) that meaning is NOT one that I assign to it. The origin of my life, the purpose of my life, and the destiny of my life are assigned to me; I don’t determine it. I am not in control. I am creature, not creator. That is counter to everything our culture tells me: you have to get control of your life; you have to take charge; you have to pursue your agenda. If life is not convenient or satisfying then I can just redifine it. Does my life show that I believe  I am creature and not in control, working for God's agenda to make this creation paradise?

Am I ready to live my life so that it shows that I believe that Jesus Christ, only Son, of God was born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and was buried, rose from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of the Father? In order to say I believe in that, I have to be prepared to say that, even though humans are not creator but creature, even though human beings are not in control and their value is determined for them by God, the value of each human being is so great, so precious, so incredibly awesome that God became one of us! Some one once said that if we imagine Jesus put on humanity as if God were putting on a suit of clothing, the amazing thing is: that suit of clothing did not need any alteration; it fit God just right, off the rack. And not only did God become human but he suffered and died and rose from the dead so that our humanity might share in God’s divinity! If human life is that precious, and that incredibly awesome, how must I treat each human being that I come in contact with, starting with myself? How must I treat my family and friends and neighbors and strangers? How must I treat those I like and those I don’t like? Am I prepared to say that I will live as if every human life is that incredibly awesome?

Lastly because we are all here because we say we believe all of this, does my life show that I believe that in the celebration of Eucharist that the bread and the wine are transformed into the real body and blood of Christ which Jesus commands us to eat and drink?

The thing that strikes me about believing in the Eucharist is not so much accepting what happens to the bread and wine but accepting what happens to me if this is truly Christ's body and blood, which in turn becomes my flesh and blood. No longer can I look for God up there on the mountain or in the sky or some far off place. He is in me, and he is in you. How can I hate you if God is in you? How can I ignore your pain and suffering if the Lord of all lives in you? How can I abuse my body with alchohol or drugs or work or social media if God has joined his flesh to mine? How can I think of God as some demanding judge or scorekeeper when he is so intimate with me and you?

Look around at the people sitting near you. Christ has chosen to become part of their flesh and blood. In a few minutes that person sitting next to you or in front of you, or in back of you, will be joined physically to the creator of the universe. And so, for most of you, will you. And then, as part of the body of Christ we will be those sent by God out into the world to bring salvation.

“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

homily index
Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
The Israelites said to them,“Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!
But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses,“I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion;
thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.

“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh,
and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp,
and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.
On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?” for they did not know what it was.
But Moses told them,“This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”
Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
Brothers and sisters:
I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds;
that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him,
as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.
John 6:24-35
When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,“Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him,“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,“Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to him,“Sir, give us this bread always.” 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.”