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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B – Homily

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
1 Kings 19:4-8
Ephesians 4:30:5-2
John 6:41-51
August 9, 2015

Elijah is tired and worn out.  How many of us have felt the same way at times?

In Elijah’s case he is serving as a prophet of the Lord in a time when people have turned away from God and didn’t want to listen to a true prophet.  The people had fallen into worship of the false God Baal.

Elijah had fought against 450 prophets of Baal and, by God’s power, they were defeated.  Jezebel the queen was angry at this and sought to have Elijah killed.  Elijah heard of this and fled in fear.

He is tired of the persecution he has faced and of living in fear for his life.  He comes to a broom tree exhausted and wants to give up.  “This is enough” he says but the Lord has others plans.

The Lord still has work for Elijah to do.  He knows Elijah is tired and exhausted.  He knows the sacrifices that Elijah has made.  He knows how hard Elijah has tried.

Does the Lord let Elijah retire?  How about at least a vacation?  No!  There is still work to be done but the Lord knows if Elijah is to continue as a prophet, he will need strength so the Lord sends an angel with a “hearth cake and a jug of water.”  Elijah is strengthened and travels forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God.

Again, do we feel exhausted like Elijah?  Do we want to quit?  The Lord had fed the Israelites in the desert with manna.  The Lord fed Elijah with the hearth cake.  Jesus fed the multitudes with five barley loaves and two fish.  The Lord strengthens us with the Bread of Life.

What Jesus feeds us with is no ordinary bread.  What starts as bread and wine is transubstantiated into Jesus’ Body and Blood.

Seen as ordinary bread, it feeds us for a few hours at best.  Seen as true bread from Heaven, it gives us life so that we might never die.

This can be hard to grasp.  It’s a reality that people die.  Otherwise, why have I done six funerals in the last four weeks and two more on Monday?

The life we receive from the Eucharist is eternal life that helps us through this world towards the next.  It is offered for us each week (in fact each day) as we celebrate Mass.  Do we recognize what it is that we receive?  Do we cherish it and seek it each week?  We all share in the mission to spread the gospel.  The Eucharist strengthens us to do our part.

It is the Bread of Life that gives eternal life.

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