19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

1 Kings 19:4-8
Ephesians 4:30-5:2
Gospel – John 6:41-51

Photo Credit: pixabay.com

Hopefulness

Has there ever been a time in your life when you felt less confident or hopeful, a time when you lost your enthusiasm or zest for life? This is what depression or discouragement is and how it tends to bring darkness rather than light to our lives. In the first reading, this is the state Elijah seems to be in. His appetite is gone and he has no desire to continue living. In fact, he prayed, “This is enough, O LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” He recognizes that his preaching, like many prophets before him, failed and the Israelites turned their backs on the one true God to worship false Gods instead.

Depression and discouragement are rampant in our country today. The results of the pandemic, political divisions, violence, declining social morals and financial difficulties, among other causes, bring strong feelings of darkness to the human soul. 

But all is not lost. When we reflect on the readings for this Sunday we see rays of hope. An angel brings food and drink to Elijah and gave him a message of hope to continue his work as a prophet. In the gospel, some in the crowd around Jesus are murmuring at Jesus’ words that he comes from God and that God is his Father. Jesus is not deterred and tells them, “I am the bread of life. 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.” This is the Bread we receive at every mass. We receive Jesus. We are then responsible for being bread, being eucharist to all we meet by acting with compassion and concern for ALL our sisters and brothers. There is reason to be filled with hope!

The reading from Ephesians provides a clear directive on how we become eucharist for others.

All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ. So be imitators of God, as beloved children and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.

How do you deal with discouragement or depression? Does your faith and relationship with God have a role in giving you hope?

How do you become eucharist for others?

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