But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat." He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you." He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God.
I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall be always in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the Lord;
the lowly will hear me and be glad. (R./)
Glorify the Lord with me,
let us together praise his name.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears. (R./)
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the afflicted man called out, the Lord heard,
and from all his distress he saved him. (R./)
The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who fear him, to deliver them.
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord;
blessed are they who take refuge in him. (R./)
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
The Jews began to complain about Jesus because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"
Jesus answered them, "Do not complain among yourselves. No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise them up on the last day. It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught by God.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father. Very truly, I tell you, whoever believes has eternal life.
"I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
The annual holiday has become standard in our society, something to which we feel entitled. This is topical right now, at the height of the holiday season, and it may help us reflect on what our life is for, and specifically about the purpose of our living. People looks forward to their holidays as the chance to get , free from the pressures of their work. For a young person it can conjure up all kinds of possibilities of adventure, new experiences, a time to be oneself — or even to find oneself. More settled adults have more limited expectations. Whether young or old, the holidays are a time to be really ourselves and ideally they help us to live with more zest when we return to "normality." This time of leisure should benefit our living. It is not in itself the object of our life. We do not live in order to have leisure, we have leisure in order to more fully live. This may sound trite but most people feel it when a holiday is too long or perhaps just a little aimless, the idea of endless leisure somehow sounds intolerably boring.
The image of rest and recreation links up with today's readings. We meet an exhausted Elijah, who has had too much of this life and its burdens. His mission to fight against Queen Jezebel's pagan movement had sapped all his energies and he just wants out. The prophet's idea of a vacation was to seek rest and renewal by going to the mountain of God, searching for some experience of God to give him new faith and courage. It was out there in the wasteland of his life that he found the bread of God which gave him the strength he needed.
Everyone needs rest and recreation if he or she is to really live the life that God has given us. Today's second reading offers ethical standards by which we can measure ourselves, to see if we are really living up to our potential. There are warning lights to show if our spiritual lives are running down or we are becoming dispirited — malice, bitterness, slander. More positively, Paul urges us to "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love."
Living a really good life involves adopting the outlook of Jesus himself, For the Christian to "really live" is to live "like Christ" and that means to live "in Christ." What does this kind living look like? It looks like constant kindness to those around us, constant forgiveness of their annoyances and the ways they reject us, the ability to be tender-hearted towards anyone in need. It is a kind of living to which we would all aspire and even occasionally achieve, but it is a kind of living that needs constant support and nourishment if it isn't to die out altogether.
To live in harmony with God is greatly helped by the Eucharist. This is where we receive the bread of life and are united to Christ, believing and listening to him. If our communion with him is real we have his own life within us and it it will be something we need to share with others. Living the Christian life means living out what we have celebrate in the Eucharist. Without this frequent return to the bread of life it is difficult to keep the spirit of Christ alive in our hearts. Just as we need holidays, so we need spiritual renewal. Our Eucharist is a source of re-creation, a source of new life in us. Here we find new inspiration and vision through the Word of God. Here we can have our faith renewed and we are given the strength to live it out.
We all do our share of complaining, and sometimes with good reason. We complain about the weather a great deal. We complain about all kinds of things. If we are not careful we can get ourselves into a very negative frame of mind. We see the problems but we see nothing else. We fail to see the bigger picture which will nearly always have brighter shades in it. Our vision can restricted to what is wrong or missing or lacking.
Today's gospel opens with the Jews complaining to each other about Jesus. As far as they were concerned his ordinariness was a problem, and they could not see beyond that. They had always known him as the son of Joseph, the carpenter from Nazareth; they knew his family and his mother. Yet, here he was claiming to be the bread that came down from heaven. They were scandalized that one of their own could make such claims for himself. Their response to Jesus was to complain about him. Complaining on its own is rarely an adequate response to anything or anyone; it is certainly not an adequate response to the person of Jesus.
Jesus calls for a special kind of response. In the beginning, when he first met the group of disciples gathered by John the Baptist he invited them to, 'Come and see.' They came, they saw how he lived, and went on eventually to believe in him. This call to come to him is repeated even to those who are already with him. He urges those who already believe to come closer to him so as to identify more fully and more deeply with him. As followers of Jesus, we spend our whole lives coming to him. We never reach him fully in this life; we never fully grasp him, either with our mind or heart. We are always on the way towards him. No matter where we are on our faith journey, the Lord keeps calling on us to come closer.
Jesus declares in the gospel that nobody can come to him unless drawn by the Father. We cannot come to Jesus on our own; we need God's help. The good news is that God the Father is always drawing us to his Son. When Jesus says to us, 'Come', we are not just left to our own devices at that point. God the Father will be working in our lives helping us to come to his Son; he will draw us to Jesus. There is always more going on in our relationship with Jesus than just our own human efforts. That should give us great encouragement because we know from our experience that our own efforts can fail us in the area of our faith as in other areas. Our coming to Jesus, our growing in our relationship with him, is not all down to us. God the Father is at work in our lives moving us towards his Son, drawing us towards Jesus. There is a momentum within us that is from God, a momentum that will lead us to Jesus if we are in any way open to it.
The language of the gospel is very graphic. Jesus speaks of himself as the bread that comes down from heaven and calls us to eat this bread. When we hear that kind of language we probably think instinctively of the Eucharist. Yet, it might be better not to jump to the Eucharist too quickly. The Lord invites us come to him and to feed on his presence, and in particular to feed on his word. In the Jewish Scriptures bread is often a symbol of the word of God. We may be familiar with the quotation from the Jewish Scriptures, 'we do not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' We need physical bread, but we also need the spiritual bread of God's word. We come to Jesus to be nourished by his word. The Father draws us to his Son to be fed by his word. The food of his word will sustain us on our journey through life, just as, in the first reading, the baked scones sustained Elijah, until he reached his destination, the mountain of God. When we keep coming to Jesus and feeding on his word, that word will shape our lives. It empowers us to live the kind of life that Saint Paul puts before us in this morning's second reading, a life of love essentially, a life in which we love one another as Christ as loved us, forgive one another as readily as God forgives us. That, in essence, is our baptismal calling.
Iarrann Íosa freagra faoi leith uainn. Ar dtús, nuair a bhuail sé leis an chéad grúpa deisceabal a chruinnigh Eoin Baiste thug sé cuireadh dóibh, 'Tagaigí agus feicigí " tháinig siad, chonaic siad conas mar a raibh cónaí air, agus i ndeire thiar chuaigh sé i bhfeidhm orthu agus chreid siad. Déantar an glaoch seo arís agus arís agus arís eile dóibh siúd atá páirteach ann cheana féin. Éilíonn sé orthu siúd a chreideann cheana féin teacht níos gaire dó ionas go n-aithneofaí níos mó agus níos mó gur clann Dé iad. Os rud é gur lucht leanúna Íosa sinne , ní mór dúinn leanúint ar lorg Íosa fad is beo sinn. Ní bhuailimid go hiomlán leis ar an saol seo; ní mór dúinn bheith ag triall air i gcónái. Táimid i de shíor ar an mbealach chuige. Is cuma cén áit in a bhfuil muid ar ár n'aistear creidimh, cuireann an Tiarna ar ár gcumas teacht níos gaire dó fós.