Vol: 45, No.44 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME ( B) August 12 2018  
 
LITURGY AND LIFE
At this point in the "bread of life" discourse "the Jews" become inimical to Jesus and begin to murmur at Jesus' affirmation of himself being the bread that came down from heaven. Their murmuring recalls the behaviour of the Israelites in the wilderness and indicates rebellion. How can Jesus make that claim when his human ancestory is known, they ask. Here lies the crux of the matter. Jesus' origin is from above. Anybody who refuses to accept this fact cannot understand the words of Jesus. The problem with "the Jews" is that they are not prepared to accept the divine origin of Jesus. Moses had warned the murmuring people of Israel and told them that their complaints were not against himself , but against the Lord. Jesus builds on this as he reproaches the murmuring of "the Jews" by pointing to the Father, and explains his role in terms of his origins with the Father. It is the Father who sends Jesus, draws believers to him, and promises eternal life as the reward for those who are drawn to Jesus. But it is the Son who will raise the believer on the last day. The Father has given that responsibility to the Son. While God determines the process, the encounter between the believer and Jesus determines life, death, and everlasting life. This is only possible because Jesus is not the son of Joseph but the Son of the Father.
Before we go further with the bread of life discourse, a word about the divine origin of Jesus needs to be mentioned. The Fourth Gospel whose thoughts are on a much higher level does not speak about the conception and the birth of Jesus but deals with the pre-existence of Jesus with the Father. Naturally for
 
an understanding of Jesus' words and deeds during his public ministry in the Fourth Gospel, the knowledge of Jesus' unique relationship with his Father is essential. Otherwise his words and deeds can be grossly misunderstood as in the case of the "Bread of life Discourse" in today's gospel reading.
Another idea that Jesus brings into the discourse is the idea of being taught by God. Thus Jesus demands that "the Jews" listen to God and be instructed by him. God taught Israel through the gift of the law, but Jesus claims that all who have truly learned from God will come to him. A new notion that is introduced by Jesus is that no longer Israel alone who is the object and the Law the sources of God's instruction. There is a change in both these because God accepts believers without limitation of race or nation and the criterion medium of acceptance is Jesus.
As this part of the discourse draws to a conclusion, Jesus recalls the experience of Israel's ancestors who ate the bread that came down from heaven in the form of manna. They all died. The bread that comes down from heaven in the person of Jesus promises a life that is eternal. Those who consume that bread will not experience death. The Mosaic bread did not produce life, and even Moses died a natural death. Now there is a bread that surpasses the bread given by Moses which is the body of Jesus, "The bread that I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh" (v 51). The true bread that has come down from heaven will make God known in an unconditional gift of himself for the life of the world.
- AK
August 2018 Readings (18th Week in Ordinary Time)) Psalter Week 3
13 Mon (G) Sts Pontian & Hippolytus,
Ezek 1:2-5, 24-28/ Ps 148:1-2, 11-14/ Mt 17:22-27
14 Tue (R) St Maximilian Mary Kolbe,
Ezek 2:8-3:4/ Ps 119:14, 24, 72, 103, 111, 131/ Mt 18:1-5, 10, 12-14
15 Wed (W) THE ASSUMPTION OF THE BVM, Solemnity & INDIA INDEPENDENCE DAY,
(Day of Obligation) (Special Mass)

Jdt 13:18-20, 14:9/ 1 Sam 2:1, 4-7/ Gal 5:13-17/ Lk 1:46-55
16 Thu (G) St Stephen of Hungary,
Ezek 12:1-12/ Ps 78:56-59, 61-62/ Mt 18:21-19:1
17 Fri (G) Ezek 16:1-15, 60, 63/ Isa 12:2-6/ Mt 19:3-12
18 Sat (W) Ezek 18:1-10, 13, 30-32/ Ps 51:12-15, 18-19/ Mt 19:13-15
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