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Ordinary Time: August 4th

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time


August 04, 2024 (Readings on USCCB website)



Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Draw near to your servants, O Lord, and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness, that, for those who glory in you as their Creator and guide, you may restore what you have created and keep safe what you have restored. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.


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So they said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst" (John 6:34-35).

Today's Memorial of St. John Vianney is superseded by the Sunday Liturgy.

Commentary on the Sunday Mass Readings for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B:

The First Reading is taken from the Book of Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15. The food which the Israelites had brought with them out of Egypt was now used up, and so they were hungry. They murmured against Moses and against God who, they said, had brought them there to die in the wilderness. God answered their complaint by giving them each day bread and meat to eat.

The Second Reading is from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians 4:17, 20-24. St. Paul is urging the Ephesian converts to live as Christians. They must forget their Gentile past, which was a life of folly as far as their real purpose in life was concerned. They are now Christians, adopted children of God; they must live according to their new status in justice and holiness.

The Gospel is from St. John 6:24-35. According to St Paul, if Christ is really active in our lives (and who among us wants to claim he isn’t?), our very way of thinking will have been turned upside down; that is, it will have been put right, because sin has perverted the order of our values. Our priorities (when we vote, when we wonder if we should have more children or not, when we choose our entertainment, when we go shopping, when we’re tempted to cut corners at work, take advantage of a customer, or skip our homework, and when we make any of the countless minor decisions of every day) will not be the following — “what’s in it for me,” “what will this do for my bank account,” “is it pleasurable” or “can I get away with it,” but rather, “how can this help me reach my real goal, eternal life”, “is this what God wants,” “does it bring me closer to God,” “will this help others,” “will it be a better witness of Christian life?"

Unrealistic? No, unless Jesus should be called “unrealistic” when he reproached people who were far needier than any of us for being more interested in today’s lunch than in the bread of life (Gospel). No, because this is the only realistic attitude: this is the way God sees things and only he sees things in all their reality. We’re the ones who need to “get real”. Did Jesus really become man and die on a cross merely so his followers could be just like everybody else?

Fruitful communions: To achieve this means taking Communion far more “seriously” than we regularly do; being quite certain that it is a food that will, gradually, transform me. No, you won’t lose weight, but you will begin to think differently about life.

In practice, it means seriously preparing yourself: before Mass, during Mass and when going to receive. Before Mass: arriving, having made some kind of real attempt during the week, to do God’s will in your life, and to open your heart to him regularly in prayer, and to people in need. During Mass: offering yourself as best you can with Christ who is offering himself for you, having an idea of what you need from him (from this Communion), telling him this. When you go to Communion: remembering who you are: this needy, weak, selfish, tempted, grieving, overworked… individual. And who the One you are about to receive is: the Jesus who gave — and gives — sight to the blind, consolation to the grieving, strength to the weak… who was tempted, and overcame temptation, for you; who invited his followers to come aside and rest with him; who gave and gives himself up for you, so that you can do it for others…

Then, after Mass, maybe we’ll be ready to do something about “the thousand inconsistencies of a ‘globalized’ world where the weakest, the most powerless and the poorest appear to have so little hope!”, aware “that it is ‘unworthy’ of a Christian community to partake of the Lord´s Supper amid division and indifference towards the poor”.
—Excerpted from Sacerdos