Home Community Sunday Gospel Thoughts August 1, 2021, 18th Ordinary Sunday

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    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.”

    Jay Edwards

    Could it really be?


    “This is God’s work, to believe in the One he sent.”

    There is a big difference between believing “in” Jesus and believing “about” Jesus. Believing about Jesus is important, but its purpose is to lead us to believe in Jesus. Some folks never get beyond believing about Jesus, as is clear in the church battles going on these days. They become Jesus’ angry enforcers”. We can learn about Jesus simply by books or web sites. We come to believe in Jesus by prayer, which is not the same as saying prayers. When we think we have Jesus all figured out, that Jesus is the one we create for ourselves to make us feel comfortable and in control, and who gives us the power to judge others. Some folks like to have all the answers, and like the power they feel.

    As recent popes have taught, Jesus is not a concept or an idea, Jesus is a person that we encounter. The whole purpose of the church is to lead folks to encounter Jesus in their lives. The Jesus we meet in the Gospel and in our prayer is the living reality of Gd’s love for us and all creation. Prayer leads us to meet in in our every day life.

    Jesus never told his followers to pray to him or worship him. He told them to follow him, to imitate him, to live as he lived. He offers a way of living, not a lot of rules and answers. As we encounter Jesus we have many more questions than answers because we are growing to know him more in our life. When he says he is the “Bread of Life” he is saying that what he shows us about living in God is essential to our living as we are created to live — beyond our own comfort zone with and for others.

    Francis is trying to move the church to believe in Jesus rather than just about Jesus. He is having an uphill battle. The nature of the institution s to protect its power by enforcing rules. Francis is focusing in letting the Spirit lead the church to question what it is to follow Jesus today.

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