18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B (Exodus 16:2-4.12-15 Ephesians 4:17.20-24 John 6: 24-35)

Theme: Holiness of Life

Last week Sunday from our second reading, Paul admonished us to live according to our calling. Today he talks about the need for righteousness and holiness of life. If we take today’s second reading seriously, it will make the first and the gospel readings of this Sunday possible and more meaningful to us. If we embrace righteousness of life, it will help us to move away from our old ways to a new way of life that will be pleasing to God. When we are rooted in God we become more interested in the spiritual than in the mundane things of the world. And that is why if we take into consideration today’s first reading, we will see the Israelites grumbling against Moses, because they have forgotten what God did for them while they exited from Egypt.

If they were concerned about the things of the spirit, their faith would have strengthened them in their time of difficulties. In the same way, we have to learn from their experience to always have faith in God when things are not going the way we expected. However, one cannot take for granted the fact that there is need for food, but they would have handled it differently and God would bless their faith in him. God never disappoints all those who trust in him. He is faithful to his promises and he is a covenant keeping God.

When you equally look at the gospel reading, we see Jesus telling the people “you are not in search of me because of the signs; you are in search of me because you are in need of bread.” When you look at the same gospel reading Jesus makes it explicitly clear that he is the bread of life. Jesus is the bread of life. He is the fullness of the Eucharist. And for us to come to terms with that reality we must be people of the spirit, it is when we are people of the spirit that the Eucharistic Jesus becomes more meaningful to us. That is when we begin to appreciate better what Jesus did for us by giving us his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist.

There may be moments in our lives when we have grumbled like the Israelites, the Lord is saying that no matter the situation we find ourselves, we must learn to trust in him. He will never forsake us at such moments. He will always stand with us and grant us our heart desires. Ordinarily one would have expected God to get angry with the Israelites because they were ungrateful, but he did not, but rather showed them mercy and provided the food that they sought. He is a loving and merciful Father.

Dearly beloved, why are you in search of God? Are you in search of God only when things are difficult for you? Are you in search of God only when you want to get something from him like the people Jesus talks about in the gospel reading of today?  They were not in search of him because of the spiritual food he was giving them, but rather because of the bread he can provide. Do you also belong to that group? We are all encouraged today to get interested with the spiritual, because that is where we will meet God. It is in the spiritual we will live lives worthy of our callings and attain salvation at the end of time. We pray that God will grant us the graces we need to be true Christians and turn away from our old ways and embrace the new ways of Christ. Peace be with you.

Homily for the 18th Sunday of the ordinary time of the Year B, by Fr. Jude Ifeanyi Ifezime, C.S.Sp