1Kg 19. 4-8; Ps 34; Eph 4. 30-5.2; Jn 6. 41-51
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
All writings offer perspectives: those ways authors communicate through their writings. One perspective, which the Fourth Gospel offers, is that two ways of living exist. One way is familiar, and we can gain access to it. The other way we receive as a gift; our efforts cannot make it possible.
The familiar, customary way of living even offers us apparent security. The Fourth Gospel uses the phrase, the world, to name our familiar, customary way of living. Some characteristics of the world, along with familiar and customary, are visible, measurable, available through human effort. Of course, what may be familiar to one may not be to another, and what makes one person feel secure may threaten another. Thus, one more feature of the world may be summarized as often divided rather than united.
The other way of living harmonizes with Jesus and his good news. We do not always perceive his good news as good because it challenges us both to adopt and to exercise in our daily living the values Jesus revealed in his person and continues to reveal by his Spirit, whom he gives us.
Jesus’ word challenges us to move beyond our security and to live his life. Jesus pointed out that the world on its own cannot fulfill us and satisfy our deep longings. In the language of the Fourth Gospel values of the world are empty and misleading. These clearly different ways do not mean that creation is evil or that it is without value. Indeed, God surveyed all creation and found it very good./1/
To live the Christian life seeks to balance living in the world and exercising the values of Jesus and his gospel. At times the world does not favor Jesus’ values or those who try to live them. To live the Christian life also respects and cherishes our humanity and keeps alert to the ways Jesus offers us his divinity and invites us to incarnate it by our living day to day.
That Jesus offers us divinity and invites us to reveal it reminds us that his offer and his invitation are grace; neither is the result of human effort.
To use words from the lips of Jesus, we may say that his offer of divinity and his invitation to reveal it to others by how we live came down from heaven. The language is spatial, but its meaning is more real than space or place. God’s continues to make self-revelation; Christians try to align themselves more with who God is and what God desires.
God’s gift in Jesus by their Spirit began in each of us at baptism. We come to the Lord’s table and share in his body and blood because the eucharist nourishes and sustains what baptism began. One liturgical guide expressed that this way. “The food of the eucharist becomes for us, not a sort of accessory, but the very source of growth in the word of God. It is not just a religious ceremony for one hour a week, but it becomes a way of living our faith.”/2/
When the eucharist is not “a sort of accessory,” it allows Christians to shed bitterness, fury, anger, raised voices and cutting speech and to exercise kindness, compassion and to forgive because God has forgiven [us] in Christ. St. Paul was always practical in encouraging people to live the faith of Jesus!
In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week, become alert to the presence of our triune God around you, embracing you and vibrating in every cell of your being. Ask Elijah to renew your confidence in your life and your faith and to present you to Jesus. Converse with Jesus: lay all your doubts at his feet; ask Jesus to help you be more alert to how Jesus offers you divine life and more alert to how Jesus invites you to reveal it by your daily living. Close by saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer, pausing to desire at its phrase, daily bread, that the eucharist will never be for you “a sort of accessory” but nourishment to exercise your faith and trust in Jesus and to live it with greater vigor and joy.