19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, CYCLE B
1 Kings 19: 4-8 + Psalm 34 + Ephesians 4: 30 – 5:2 + John 6: 41-51
Holy Spirit Church: August 8, 2021
The Son of God comes from heaven to earth to teach us how to love.
Jesus shows us how to love one another AND GOD by the way he lives life on this earth.
The Son of God, as the bread come down from heaven,
is born into a world where human beings are separated from each other and from God, and so he comes to reconcile us to each other and to God.
We have to learn how to love, we need someone to teach us and show us,
and so Jesus does.
We are fed by the bread of his teaching, the words he speaks which are like manna
to our souls.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
“Blessed the merciful, blessed are the peacemakers.” Or these words, “I call you friends.”
We are fed by the bread of his life, by his deeds done which give us an image
of what love looks like.
Daily he gives his flesh for the life of the world, giving himself in his fleshy body
to feed those hungering for love:
touching the leper,
feeding the hungry with bread from his hands,
forgiving the adulterous woman and lifting her up freed from the weight of her sin, healing broken hearts and bodies by his words and deeds.
Which leads to the ultimate sacrifice of love, the image which teaches us more than any other what love looks like, as he gives his flesh for the life of the world on the cross.
This supreme act of love was simply a consequence of a life poured out in love of others, a life spent giving himself as bread come down from heaven to those hungering for love.
Jesus shows us what love looks like and then commands us
to love one another as he has loved us.
St. Paul fleshes out what this love of Christ looks like.
He spells out what the love of Christ looks like in the life of his followers, in Christians.
Kindness, compassion, forgiving one another—this is what love looks like.
These acts of love produce a sweet-smelling fragrance which dispels the bad odor
of bitterness and fury, shouting and reviling.
Loving in this way is a choice. It is an act of the will.
It means letting go of control, which results not in a loss of freedom, but freedom gained.
To choose to love means letting go of power—it is an act of vulnerability,
a handing of ourselves over to others, as Jesus has handed himself over to us.
But it is not a loss of self, but rather a self-revealed, a fuller self gained.
We are able to love others as Jesus loves because Jesus first loves us.
He loves us first, gives himself to us before we are ever worthy of such a gift.
As the living bread come down from heaven, Jesus Christ feeds us with his love
in a very concrete, tactile way in this holy meal.
This is the Bread which energizes us for our long journey home
back to our Heavenly Father.
The One who literally is Love Enfleshed, gives us his flesh to eat,
his very person as the Risen Lord
joining his life to ours, to strengthen us in loving others as he loves.
Fr. Joseph A. Jacobi