18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

First reading: Ex. 16:2–4,12–15

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread! But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.

“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?” for they did not know what it was. But Moses told them, “This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

Second reading: Eph. 4:17,20–24

Brothers and sisters: I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Gospel: Jn. 6:24–35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.” So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.” So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

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.”

In other words Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD (Divine Word Seminary, Tagaytay City)

We used to have six lovebirds inside a wooden cage in our home. I would pass by them periodically to say hi. Through the years, they fascinated me with some interesting thoughts about their behavior. One was their incredible eating habit. For more than six years, they ate absolutely nothing but tiny seeds which Google calls millet. Morning, noon, evening, they ate nothing but these seeds. At times, I would put through the wire mesh bananas, some herbs, and bread. But the tiny birds would just look at these and turn away like what total snobs would do. For years, millet kept them alive.

Sometimes I am tempted to compare the food I eat to the one and only kind that the birds ate. Shamefully, I end up admitting and admiring the simplicity of our pets.

In today’s Sunday Gospel, Jesus also offers one Bread that will bestow complete satisfaction, “food that endures for eternal life.” This Bread is with us today. People who regularly come to Mass have discovered this Treasure! This food gives life and sustenance to their day-to-day struggles in life.

When Taal volcano erupted and covered Tagaytay with ashes, religious houses and convents were temporarily abandoned for health reasons. Several text messages were sent to us with one question, “Father, saan po kami magsisimba? Sarado mga churches?”(Father, where could we go to celebrate Mass? All the churches are closed.) These were people who hungered for the food that Jesus, in today’s Gospel, was talking about.

Our lovebirds ate only one food, and not only did it keep them alive but inspired them to sing their songs the whole day through. Would that we who regularly eat the Bread of Life sing our song of praise to God, by words and deeds all our lives too.

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