Jesus Draws Us To Himself Daily
Readings: 1st: 1Kg 19, 4-8; Ps 33; 2nd: Eph 4, 30. 5, 2; Gos Jn 6, 41-51
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working at the Sanctuario del Espiritu Santo, en Dorado, Puerto Rico, del Internacional Grupo Espiritano De Puerto Rico – Republica Dominicana. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is the nineteenth Sunday of ordinary time. As the bread of life, Jesus continues to draw us to himself. This is in order to nourish and strengthen us on our journey just as God drew Elijah into the desert in order to nourish and encourage him. Many times I have heard people say to me: “Father, there is no reason to continue living; I am tired of this life. I am alone in my struggle. I do not think God still hears my prayers, I feel like dying.” I know very well that such moments in life that pushes us to make such statements are not easy at all. However, speaking this way is a sign of almost accepting defeat and loss of hope in divine providence and restoration. The good news today is that there is hope in Jesus the bread of life who draws us to himself every day in order to nourish us.
I consider our first reading today very encouraging. In many ways, it is very encouraging because many of us are in the same boat right now with Elijah. So, we can all identify with the prophet and his predicament. Unfortunately, the same Elijah who was courageous against Ahab in his palace and on Mount Carmel; the same Elijah who also witnessed God in the home of the widow, in the years of famine, and in the fire and rain from heaven, suddenly became fearful and discouraged. However, when he thought that all hope was lost, God divinely intervened by feeding and strengthening him for his journey. What do we learn from Elijah today? Simple! We must learn to rest our expectations in God’s sovereignty, trusting in his time, divine providence, and protection. Also, another important and encouraging lesson here is that failure does not mean defeat, or an end to our life and journey.
In our second reading, Paul reminds us that as children of God, each one of us bears a mark of the Holy Spirit. This spirit is our guide, strength and company in the Journey of life. So, we must trust and walk with him. Grieving him will make our journey difficult. If we trust and walk with him, he will lead us safely through the rough paths of life. He will lead us to Christ the living bread who nourishes and strengthens us along our journey. Paul tells us how to maintain this relationship with the Holy Spirit. “Never have grudges against other, or lose your temper, or raise your voice to anybody, or call each other names… forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.”
Today, as it was for Elijah, Jesus confronts his own obstacles. The Pharisees would not believe in Him. Instead, they looked for means of discrediting him and his work. Jesus did not give up. Instead he remained focused. He proved to be the bread of life that Elijah eat and was restored. So, He draws us to himself every day through the Eucharistic table in order to nourish and strengthen us for our journey. He fills us with his spirit who leads and directs us on the right path in our journey. He is the bread of life that satisfies our spiritual hunger. So today, Christ is saying to us as he spoke to Elijah in the desert, “rise, eat, drink, and continue your journey with a new hope, zeal and a new spirit.
Finally, as it was for Elijah today, your sorrow is about to be turned into joy. That loneliness in the desert of your life is about to be dispersed by multitudes of angels who are ready to attend to you; that apparent defeat is about to be turned into great victory because:“Weeping may endure at night but joy comes in the morning” (Ps 30, 5). Do not lose hope. Rather, ask for the grace to continue and, you will find it. Also, all we need is simply to: “Taste and see that the Lord is good,” because he is really the bread of life that that strengthens us daily.
Peace be with you!