Tuesday, August 25, 2009

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

click here for today's readings

The gospel occurs the day after the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Briefly paraphrased it goes like this: “Hey Jesus, why did you leave us?” Jesus replies, “You aren't here for me, you are here for free food. Honestly, you are wasting your time if its just food you are after. You should be coming to me for something better, eternal life.” The people ask, “How do we get that? Show us a sign.” Jesus says, “I am the sign, if you believe in me, you will never worry about food and drink again.”

Do we believe because we received something from God? A job, a car, a family, a fish and some loaves while we sat in the meadow? Or do we believe because Jesus Christ was sent to earth to show us a new way. He sacrificed His body on the cross and died. Then He rose from the dead to conquer death, to destroy death! Would we, like Job, believe if we had nothing? Would we believe if we had lost everything, family, home, wealth, property, our health, and friends?

Paul's letter to the Ephesians urges us to put our old selves away, the selves that show up for free food, who believe because God has blessed us with stuff. He begs us to put away weak faith and to put away our weak and former selves. If we truly believe, we know that we have the gift of Jesus Christ. We no longer belong to this world, but to God's kingdom.

Now that we have the gift of Jesus, we should walk as a child of God. A very small child does not wonder where it is going or what it is doing. A very small child lives in the present moment. In this very moment, God is providing for you. Paul accuses the Gentiles as living in “futility of their minds” - in fear, worry and anxiety. In this moment God is proving for you. Paul says, “be renewed in the spirit of your minds.” Don't worry, don't fear, do not be anxious. God is providing for you right now. Perhaps not for your physical needs - mana isn't raining down from heaven, but He is providing for your spiritual needs. Jesus on the cross has given us the sign we asked for. His life, offered on the cross – for you, for this very moment.

Jesus gives us his body and blood as bread and wine. As we approach the altar, what do we think? Do we think about the substance of the bread and the wine? Do we think about the flavor or the texture in our mouths? Do we think about the people in the line? In the pew? Are we tied to the futility of our minds – the anxiety, worry and stress of the physical things?

Be renewed, brothers and sisters! As you approach the altar, God approaches you. As you lift your hands to make a throne for the host of the body of Christ, God approaches you. The minister proclaims, “the body of Christ.” Your “Amen” proclaims, “I believe this is your body. I come to you so that I may never hunger.”

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