18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Ephesians 4:17 20-24
August 5, 2012
Jesus has fed the people (5,000 of them!). They are following him. Ideally they would be following him because they had come to understand because of the Sign who he truly is.
Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Instead, as Jesus puts it, they are following him because he had filled their bellies.
One might wonder a little if they understood at all but when they ask for a sign, it is clear that they have not recognized the significance of what had happened.
They aren’t the first!
The first reading reminds us of how the people grumbled in the desert. Through God’s miraculous power in the Ten Plagues and the parting of the Red Sea, they had been set free from the Egyptians.
They had thought it wonderful to be set free but they didn’t really grasp the significance that God would always take care of them. They saw the miracles but didn’t recognize the signs.
But they grumbling had some basis in need, need for food, and God provided the quail and the manna. They did not recognize the manna.
The manna came to be seen as ‘bread from heaven’.
Jesus gives us the true bread from heaven.
Jesus is the Bread in two ways. He gives us life in his Word. The Word that speaks to us of how we are to live and when we follow this Word, we know life in a new way.
But Jesus also gives us the true bread in the Eucharist, the Bread of Life, his own Body and Blood.
What do we see when the Minister of Communion places the host in our hearts? Do we see something that looks like bread? Do we think it will fill our physical hunger?
And the cup, do we see wine, or something more?
It still looks like bread and wine but it has become so much more. We can’t explain it scientifically because it has the same physical properties but it has been transubstantiated.
Transubstantiate is a word we don’t hear much. Matter of fact, I’m better many have never heard it and if you have, only in church.
‘Trans’ means ‘change’ and then it refers to the ‘substance’. The substance of the bread and wine is changed, changed for our benefit.
We are called to be changed by what we receive. As Paul puts it, we are called to ‘put away the old self….and put on the new self.’
So, as you come up for Communion today, ask yourself do you realize what you are receiving, The Body and Blood of Christ?
And do you allow yourself to be transformed by what we receive?