Sunday, 16 August 2015

Week 20 (Year B) Sunday -- 16 August 2015

Readings: Proverbs 9:1-6; Ps 34; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58

Bread and life are closely linked and there are many popular sayings that show it. Earning one's crust, referring to money as 'bread' or as 'dough', knowing what side one's bread is buttered on, people who find themselves on the breadline: having bread means being able to live, earning one's crust means earning a living, our daily bread means enough to live on, enough to sustain us for another day.

But 'man does not live on bread alone'. So the wisdom literature of the Bible encourages us to leave folly and to walk in the ways of perception. We are to be intelligent and thoughtful, wise, rather than thoughtless and foolish. It is wise - common sense, we can say - to give thanks to God for his gifts, for life itself, and for the necessities that sustain it. Without those gifts and that sustenance human life would not be possible. Not just physical human life but rational and spiritual human living: all of this depends on 'daily bread'.

Each new level of living brings with it the need for a new kind of bread and a new kind of wisdom or common sense that sees the connection between that kind of bread and the kind of living it sustains. Physical living needs physical bread. The life of the mind needs another kind of nourishment. So too the life of friendship, spiritual living, life in community - all the different ways in which the human being is alive require their sustenance and their wisdom.

Jesus says that the bread he will give is his flesh for the life of the world. So we are into a radically new level of living here. He draws his life, he tells us, from the Father and it is transmitted to us from the Son in the Eucharist: As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me (John 6:58).

A new level, or depth, or meaning, or reality, or destiny for human life means a new food and a new wisdom. Through the sacrament of Word and Sacrifice the divine life of love is in us. Whoever eats this Bread has eternal life. To many of his listeners it seems foolish, even scandalous. To those who believe it becomes common sense, the foolishness of a Wisdom that is divine. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

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