How Deep Is My Faith?

Weekly Missionary Reflection
19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 08 August 2021

1Kings 19:4-8; Ps. 34:2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9; Eph. 4:30 – 5:2; John 6:41-51

In the Gospel of John Jesus often used the misunderstanding of His listeners as the starting point for faith deepening. For example, the Samaritan woman understood “the living water” just as “flowing water”. This is an example of misunderstanding, or shallow understanding. Jesus did not criticize her, instead He used this example as the beginning of a deeper dialogue about His identity as the source of life. For Jesus, there is always an opportunity to teach about Good News. Everything, including the misunderstanding, can be used as the starting point of an enriching dialogue. Shallowness in understanding is the opportunity and invitation for deepening the faith, to dip into the essence of mystery.

The Jews murmured as Jesus said “I am the bread that came down from heaven”. They were too focus on what they saw and knew. They knew the “origin” of Jesus. He was a member of their village. They knew His parents. He came from their community. He couldn’t have ”come down from heaven”. They were trapped by their own understanding and concept. They didn’t want to be opened to new understanding. Their murmur and complain related with the lack and shallowness of faith. Jesus’ teaching was targeting to this most inner part. First, the faith in Jesus is God’s grace. We are able to come and believe Him only because we are “drawn by the Father” (v. 44). The Father wants everybody to be saved, thus He teaches everybody (v. 45). He does not exclude nor isolate anyone. The problem is wether human beings are willing to be taught by God and opened to His guidance through Jesus’ word and work? That is the root of the problem of the Jewish listeners. For them Jesus was only their “villager boy”. He was part of their family. They had known who He was! They could not accept and believe that He “came down from heaven”, who taught the will of the Father and present Father’s love to the world. Faith could not be deepened if we think that we know who the Lord is. The belief becomes untrue when God is no more “The Other”, but only our self projection, will, desire, imagination, knowledge, loneliness and self searching!

Second, Jesus is the bread coming down from heaven. He is the food that gives eternal life, different from the manna at the desert that only gave a temporary life. How does Jesus becomes “the bread” that gives eternal life? By presenting Father to humans. Welcoming Jesus as the self-revelation and love of God means we “consume” the bread of life and take part in the divine life itself. That is the “salvation” in the words of John. He did not use abstract and conceptual words. He used the symbols of “eat and drink”, the most common activity, yet a very basic one for humans. When we eat, we put something from outside into ourselves. Jesus is the “food”, because He comes from the Father, from the Heaven, not a “product” of this world and ourselves. When we eat, the food blends itself because it is chewed, swallowed, digested to give us strength, growth and life. The food “unites” with us who eat it. That is Jesus who gives Himself, who blends Himself so we can unite with Him and share His eternal 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…

Amen

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