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Bulletin: August 5, 2018

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Hunger and thirst. The Israelites become quarrelsome in the desert and complain to Moses. Perhaps it would have been better to remain slaves than to be hungry in the desert! Their hunger is satisfied through a miraculous intervention by God, who gives them quail and manna. This new food, which addresses their physical need, is a sign of their new relationship with God, who provides for them spiritually as well as physically. The Christians in Ephesus are reminded that their new relationship with Jesus Christ is to renew them in spirit, so that their actions are fitting for believers. Jesus recognizes that many who have flocked to him do so to fill their physical hunger. His response to them turns their focus to his true mission, which is about eternal life with God: “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

Are you hungry or thirsty?

If you have ever been on a diet or if you have fasted, you know the feeling of being hungry. Reducing our consumption of food leaves us with hunger pangs that are hard to ignore. Of course, this type of hunger pales in comparison with those who truly lack the nourishment they need. Some lack drinkable water. Their thirst is unimaginable to people who simply turn on a tap from which fresh water flows. There is another kind of hunger and thirst that is part of the human experience. Many of us hunger for a deep relationship with God. This spiritual hunger is sometimes not conscious, until we are attentive to it. The Israelites in the desert and the people who followed Jesus across the sea experienced a flash of insight that changed them. Suddenly, their hunger was about more than food for their physical sustenance. They became aware of their spiritual thirst, which only God can quench. What spiritual hunger do you recognize?

Thirst quenched, we become thirsty

Once we become attuned to our great longing for God, we grow in trust that Jesus is the bread of life who fills us with God’s goodness. Assured that we need never hunger again, our faith leads us to thirst—for justice, mercy, or care for those who are on the peripheries, and for an ever-greater relationship with God and within the Christian community. With this spiritual growth, we recognize that we must act in order to meet the needs of those who are physically hungry or thirsty, and that we may have the opportunity to lead others to Jesus, the bread from heaven that gives life to the world. In what ways is Jesus your bread of life? How are you called to provide bread, physical or spiritual, to others?

Today’s Readings: Ex 16:2–4, 12–15; Ps 78:3–4, 23–24, 25, 54; Eph 4:17, 20–24; Jn 6:24–35

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