From the Pastor – August 8, 2009

As I mentioned over the last two weekends, the Gospel this Sunday is a continuation of the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel. Two weeks ago we heard about the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. Last week we heard Jesus raise the bar and describe Himself as the “Bread from Heaven,” calling to mind the manna from heaven of the Exodus. This Sunday Jesus starts facing detractors, followers who reject his audacious claims, and He “ups the ante” once again: “Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

Have you ever been hungry and not know what you were hungry for? You might want something to eat, but you’re not sure if it’s a po-boy or a snowball or some fruit. And you ponder it a while. This hunger can be somewhat similar to stages in our life when we wonder “what it’s all about.” We might have questions about our jobs or our relationships or our friends. And we think: “Why am I doing this? What do I want in life?”

Jesus understands both feelings. His human nature got hungry for food like we do. And He understood that those feelings can serve as metaphors for a deeper type of spiritual hunger. We might hunger for a “change” or “something better” or “something new,” and deep inside this hunger is a desire for something greater than ourselves. It’s a desire for eternity, a desire for wholeness; it’s a desire for love.

Nothing in this world can satisfy the deepest longings of our soul. Only God can do that. And since we cannot get to God on our own, He sent His Son down to us to feed us with the Father’s love and to call us to continue to reach for eternity. God has something in store for each of us that is greater than the world can give. And when we have that “something,” we have what the world cannot take away.

So how do we get it? It’s only given to us through the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the means by which we have access to the Father. We come to Him in Word and Sacrament, and express to Him our great hunger for that “something” that we don’t have: that eternal life of happiness and love.

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty