Weekly Missionary Reflection
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 01 August 2021
Exo. 16:2-4,12-15; Ps. 78:3,4bc,23-24,25,54; Eph. 4:17.20-24; John 6:24-35
Palestine of the first century was indeed unfriendly. The common people lived miserably under the oppression of the Roman authority. The number of poverty and unemployment was very high. Hunger was rampant. Under such condition, anyone who shared the bread and fish for 5,000 people at no charge would easily attract the followers and fans. This was what happened at the end of last week’s Gospel. The crowd would like to make Jesus their king. But surprisingly, Jesus stepped aside. How different Jesus is from us, who always seek and fight for position and power!
The aspiration of common people is certainly reasonable, but it is still not deep enough. They do not really know Jesus’ identity. Therefore, Jesus tries to clarify who He really is. As long as He just gives and distributes food, the people will keep on focusing on the physical and economic satisfaction. Indeed that is what frequently happens, from the past till now. His followers just focus on the status and physical benefit. Jesus is called for the sake of physical purpose. Let’s listen to the intention of our pray: full of request for “food that perishes” (v. 27). We believe for filling our needs of food, power, praise, etc. We are religious to fill our desire, self-satisfaction, spiritual satisfaction, psychological needs, etc.
Jesus of course does not expect His people to starve. He wants to end the hunger, but He doesn’t want to be the bread and fish multiplier only! Jesus asks us to make a leap of faith quality. Thus, He presents Himself in a deeper way: from Jesus who distributes bread to Jesus who is the bread. And not just a common bread! His self-proclamation of “I am the bread of life” reminds us of God’s self introduction to Moses: “I am who I AM” (Exo. 3:14). God who was once present and will always be with His people, now is present actively through Jesus. God who sent down the manna to the world, now sends Jesus, the Bread of life to the world. The revelation of God through Jesus is like bread or food that grows true life in the believers, as well as giving them the share in the divine life.
How do we respond on Jesus’ presenting Himself as the bread that gives the true life? You and I can be just trapped like the initial listeners of Jesus who ask: “What must we do to perform the works of God?” They are so focusing on human’s work and effort, that is: the good deeds pleased by God. This is undeniable, but it is not determining. Jesus, on the other hand, emphasizes only one work: “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (v. 29). The work that God wants is only one, that is: Believe! True life is a gift from God. You and I just come to Him and believe in Him, in order to get the true life. Why? For He is the Word who reveals and presents the love of God. Receiving Jesus means receiving God’s love, and it means we take part in divine and true life.
(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:
For Evangelization intention:
Church: Let us pray for the Church, so they can receive the grace and power from Holy Spirit, to renew themselves in the light of Gospel. We pray …
For Indonesian Churches intention:
Tackling the problem of racism: May the government be blessed with clarity of heart and mind in guiding the public for not being easily provoked by the issue of social, culture and race difference. We pray …
Special Intention for the year of St. Joseph:
Let us join St. Joseph to get the Spirit of Humility, in order to be able to surrender ourselves to Your will in true freedom. We pray…