Homily on the 20th Sunday in O.T Year B, 19/08/2018
Few days ago on social media there was a trending picture of someone carrying Ugali to save it from house inferno. Why would someone do that? Why would someone choose to rescue ugali of all other valuables? It seems the person loves ugali and perhaps it was for personal meal or for the animals but either way this is meant to give life. One day after this picture there was an advertisement in the social media on “unga wa Dola” trying to promote maize flour from this company since it makes good ugali you cannot afford to miss. Food/bread is essential for life and without it we cannot live. When Jesus calls himself the bread of life, he is not making any advertisement but he is offering his whole being for us to live, he want us to taste and see his goodness and have life.
The action of Jesus to give us life is expressed in the metaphor of bread of life. This metaphor is again seen in the first reading expressed by a lady wisdom that has prepared a table and invites all to eat. She generously shares food. There is no doubt this theme/discourse on food/ bread has continued for the last couple of weeks and we know that John is really referring to the spiritual food, that is, the Eucharist.
Christ is explaining to the Jews that he is the food of life in the spiritual sense and not in human sense. This brings us to the attention of two dimensions: Cannibalism and Sacramental.
Jesus clarifies to the Jews that what he meant by being the bread/food that gives life, is sacramental realism and not the human realism. This opens our eyes to help the catechumens and anyone else understand the spiritual/sacramental dimension of the Eucharist, the bread of life.
Eucharist nourishes our soul to be in communion with God. Jesus presence in the Eucharist is real and is meant to give us eternal life. Eucharistic meal is different from other meals since it is a meal and food for life eternal. This is the sacramental realism of Eucharist.
The action of Jesus giving us his body and blood, the food of life eternal is expressed by St. Thomas Aquinas by the imagery of Penguin bird that pierces itself to ooze blood and the chicks can live on it. Jesus is giving himself totally to others.
In the multiplication of loaves recorded in Mathew, Jesus is feeding the people to live.
On the cross Jesus is the immolated lamb that gives his whole life for us to have life. He is the broken bread of life. He was born at Bethlehem (House of bread), later he would become the bread of life. He was laid on the Manger a place for animal food, later he become the real/true food (food of truth and life)
Later we shall encounter Peter who asks Jesus, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.
With all those actions Christ intends to give us life and the action that clearly explains how Christ gives us life is the Eucharist (Mass). What actions can Christians take to give others life in the imitation of Christ? Attend mass often and if you can receive Jesus Christ the bread of life to get the spiritual strength to share life with others by breaking bread/sharing food with the hungry, water with the thirsty and you will make them live. Share your life with a warm heart than with a cold hand and heart. Repeated action generates experience/ wisdom like in lady wisdom in the first reading who shares food with others to give life.