Gospel Reflection for 19th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B – August 9th 2015
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
The Jews were complaining to each other about Jesus, because he had said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven.’ ‘Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph’ they said. ‘We know his father and mother. How can he now say, “I have come down from heaven” ?’ Jesus said in reply, ‘Stop complaining to each other.
‘No one can come to me
unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me,
and I will raise him up at the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They will all be taught by God,
and to hear the teaching of the Father,
and learn from it,
is to come to me.
Not that anybody has seen the Father,
except the one who comes from God:
he has seen the Father.
I tell you most solemnly,
everybody who believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your fathers ate the manna in the desert
and they are dead; .
but this is the bread that comes down from heaven,
so that a man may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give
is my flesh, for the life of the world.’
Jesus had a big insight that people came to him because God has something in them that draws them to his message, to his personality and to his self-sacrificing love.
Desire is a Gift
People ask should we baptise children whose parents don’t go to Mass, should they make confirmations if they are not practising any regular faith. There are many ways of looking at this, and a central one is the belief that the desire for God, for a sacrament or for prayer is given by God. Pope Francis sees the openness of every child to this love of God: “Every child who is born is a gift of joy and of hope, and every child who is baptised is a miracle of the faith and a feast for the family of God.”
Lord may I love like you
St Ignatius often says to pray for what we really desire. It takes time to sift various desires, and even in prayer we may find ourselves getting revengeful and hurtful. A bit more time and the mood may change into tolerance and praying for those we don’t like. Desires for goodness, peace, forgiveness are given by God. Prayer and shared faith can increase these good desires. I have never left prayer without feeling more open to others and more living. My big prayer is always answered: ‘Lord may I love like you’, answered even a little.
We make our steps towards Jesus, like the people at his gatherings did, because God has called us this way. Let’s be grateful that we are drawn to Jesus, and this ‘drawing’ is a grace of God.
Lord, teach me to know you more, love you more and serve you more faithfully in life. (St Ignatius).
Donal Neary SJ