Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 5, 2018)

The Scriptures today invite us to open our minds and hearts to the lavish love of our God.

When the Israelites asked for food in the desert, God gave them exactly what they needed. Their grumbling didn’t put him off; he fed them with manna and quail. God only asked them to trust in his loving care for them.

When crowds of people gathered around Jesus, he not only fed them; he gave them more than they could eat. God’s only desire in both instances was to show his lavish love in such a way that it would move people to trust him with their lives.

When the people asked Jesus what they were to do to accomplish the works of God, he gave them a simple answer: believe in the one sent by God – believe in me. Then Jesus identifies himself: I am the bread of life, come down from heaven to give life to the world. All who come to him will never hunger or thirst.

All of us believe that Jesus is the bread of life for us. We desire to place our trust and confidence in God’s loving care for us. We have also found that there is a challenge involved in this trusting. The challenge comes in our willingness to embrace God as he is, and not as we might like him to be. Confidence in God’s loving Providence means accepting with our whole being that God will provide for us, but not always as we might want or expect. Hoarfrost on the ground in the early morning was not what the Israelites expected, but it was bread from heaven as God had promised.

Are we courageous enough in our faith to say to God: “Give us this bread always” and then meet the challenges of letting Jesus, the bread of life, live in us as each day unfolds?