Vol: 42, No.44 19TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME ( B) August 09 2015  
 
LITURGY AND LIFE

All the Gospels, except that of Mark, deal with the divine origin of Jesus. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke in their infancy narratives tell us that Mary conceived Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel of Mark begins with the public ministry of Jesus probably assuming that his readers knew about the miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. But the later Gospel writers found it essential to build their stories about Jesus by placing before the reader from the outset that the person whose story s/he is going to read is the Son of God. The synoptic Gospels follow the method of the annunciation in which the angel announces that the child going to be born is the Son of God, and the manner of conception is also explained which helps the reader. 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. Jesus is the Word becoming flesh. 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 a number of people who came into contact with him including his opponents who are called ‘the Jews”.
The Fourth Gospel being a spiritual Gospel has different layers of meaning. And the Evangelist purposely employs the “misunderstanding” technique. Explained plainly it means that certain words and deeds of Jesus are misunderstood by the listener, for example, Nicodemus misunderstood when Jesus spoke to him about the need for a new birth in the Spirit. The Samaritan woman also did likewise when Jesus spoke to her about the living water. She understood it to be the water in the well. The misunderstanding on the part of the listener helps Jesus to explain further on the topic. We see the same phenomenon in today’s Gospel. When Jesus speaks of himself as the bread that has come down from heaven, “the Jews” understand it on a natural level and since they know his family they begin to murmur. Their murmuring indicates rebellion. It also recalls the behaviour of the Israelites in the

 

wilderness (Exod 15:24). Jesus’ claim that he is the bread that has come down from heaven culminates in questions about his origin. How can Jesus claim to have come from heaven when his earthly origin is known? The group claims to know his father and mother.
Here a basic tenet of Christology is at play. Jesus’ origin is from above. What Jesus was before his incarnation is clearly explained in the prologue to the Gospel of John. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth… the only Son from the Father” (Jn 1:14). The point is: Jesus’ claim about his divine origin is understandable only to those who have knowledge about his origins, that is, those who believe in him. The opponents who have no knowledge and not willing to judge him from his words and actions will always remain as the Israelites who murmured against God and Moses. Moses had warned the murmuring people of Israel, “Your complaints are not against us, but against the Lord” (Exod 16:8). Jesus repeats this process as he reproaches the murmuring of “the Jews” by pointing to the Father, and explaining his role in terms of his origin with the Father.
As the discourse progresses, Jesus makes it clear that he is the one who makes the Father known. No one has ever seen the Father (cf. Jn 1:18), but Jesus who has come from the Father makes him known. As in the prologue, so here the relationship between Jesus and Moses is in question. However exalted are the claims of Moses, Jesus who is God’s Son is the only one who has ever seen God. The difference between Moses and Jesus is their respective origins. Jesus’ origins gives him a unique authority to make God known (Jn 1:18). Because of this the believer in Jesus has eternal life. The comparison continues between the manna of the Law and Jesus, the true bread from heaven. He has come to make the Father known and, in doing so, surpasses the former gift of bread from heaven. He is the bread of life. Let us cultivate true devotion to the Eucharist. The manna was God’s gift to the people, but it had so lasting value. When we eat the body of Jesus we have eternal life.

– Fr Johnson Vattakkunnel, SSP
August 2015 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 3
10 Mon (R) St Lawrence, Feast, 2 Cor 9:6-10/ Ps 112:1-2,5-9/ Jn 12:24-26
11 Tue (W) St Clare, Deut 31:1-8/ PS (Deut) 32:3-4,7-9,12/ Mt 18:1-5,10,12-14
12 Wed (G) St Jane Frances de Chantal, Deut 34:1-12/ Ps 66:1-3,5,8,16-17/ Mt 18:15-20
13 Thu (W) Sts Pontian & Hippolytus, Josh 3:7-10,11,13-17/ Ps 114:1-6/ Mt 18:21–19: 1
14 Fri (R) St Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Josh 24:1-13/ Ps 136:1-3,16-18,21-22,24/ Mt 19: 3-12
15 Sat (W) THE ASSUM PTION OF THE BVM & INDIAN INDIAN INDE PENDEN CE DAY DAY DAY , (Day of Obligation) (Special Mass) Jdt 13:18-20; 14:9/ Ps 1 Sam 2:1,4-5,6-7/ Gal 5:13-17/ Lk 1:46-55
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