Community Word: Belief in Jesus Christ, our Living Bread, leads us to eternal life.
Order: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.”
Belief in Jesus Christ, our Living Bread, leads us to eternal life. This is the central community message for the month of August. Christ gave Himself to us as our spiritual food as we journey in this life. He feeds us by revealing the Father to us in word and in deed, giving us the knowledge and wisdom of God who satisfies our hunger for God. He says: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever,” (Jn 6:51). Every time we participate in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, we remember the redemptive, life-giving love of God that culminated in the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. Through our communion with Christ in this sacrament, we deepen our friendship with Him and allow Him to shape the way we see, decide and act. The Eucharist is a place where one comes to eternal life, (Gospel of John, Sacra Pagina p 224).
The theme for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time is – Our belief in the Living Bread leads us to accomplish the works of God. As Catholic Christians and Eucharistic people, we are also a people of mission. We are commissioned to proclaim the goodness and greatness of Jesus Christ by word and deed in the witnessing of our lives. As we are blessed with His Real Presence in the sacrament, we are sent forth to make His presence real to others. As we are fed by the Bread of Life, we are also called to feed the hungry people that we encounter, to strengthen the bond of communion among members of our family, community and work places. As we do, all of God’s people will be able to share in Jesus’ promise in John 6:35 – “…whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
For the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time the theme is – Our belief in the Living Bread allows us to listen and learn from our Father. To listen and to learn require humility, a key characteristic of a disciple of Jesus. One who listens to God will learn from God and will be drawn to Jesus, for Jesus is the one who speaks God’s word and manifests His presence. A prayerful reflection is a learning process that brings us into conversation that connects us with God. It is noteworthy to mention that Christian listening requires patience with an act of love to one who is speaking. It allows the avenue to ask perceptive questions and readies us to minister words of grace to others in need at the right time and place. It reflects our sincere and loving relationship with God because as John wrote – “They shall all be taught by God,” (Jn 6:45). Jesus says: Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from Him comes to me.” This is the promised assurance of Jesus for those who listens to His Father’s word.
Our belief in the Living Bread inspires us to partake in the Holy Eucharist – is the theme for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Celebrating the Holy Eucharist is central to our faith as Catholic Christians. It is unique to us because we believe that bread and wine are not merely representation of Christ, but that at the moment of consecration, these species become transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ. It is in the Eucharist that we discover who we are and to whom we truly belong, that we belong to and remain in Jesus. Partaking Holy Communion reinforces our commitment to God and fortifies our relationship with Jesus. In the Holy Eucharist, we are taking God into our body and into our lives, bestowing grace on us. Jesus promised us – “…the one who feeds on me will have life,” (John 6:57b).
Finally, the theme for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time is – Our belief in the Living Bread compels us to stand firm in following Jesus. The Eucharist sums up the mystery of our faith. In John 16:33, it is clear and evident that trials and troubles will be part of our life. Difficulties may pile up and at times, we may hardly see God at work. But our true and strong belief in Jesus as the Living Bread compels us to be resolute in embracing God’s truth and in following Jesus. If ever we may not see God working, we can depend and take refuge in our Rock and Fortress (Ps 71:3). We should never fear or be discouraged, but be relentless in placing our trust and hope in the Lord and allow Him to work mightily in us, anticipating His promised deliverance. For He has assured us – “The words I have spoken to you are spirit and life,” (John 6:63b).
O Heavenly Father, nourish and sustain us with the Bread of Life, our Lord Jesus Christ. Transform us for mission, strengthen us for service and let our hearts, minds and whole being be ready to receive You and offer You our thanks and praises. Amen.