19th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Call to worship

Jesus reminds his followers that they can truly know him only if they open their mind and hearts. We, too, must open our minds and our hearts, praying to God with sincerity and ready to accept God’s unlimited offer of life.

To the point: Sometimes what we claim to know does not square up with reality. The Jews in the gospel think they know Jesus’ origins (“the son of Joseph”) and, therefore, what he is and is not capable of doing. He commands them to “stop murmuring” — to stop limiting what they know. Only by opening themselves to be “taught by God” can they come to see who Jesus really is (“the living bread. . . from heaven”). Only with this deeper knowledge can they receive the greatest gift he offers — himself, the “living bread” who brings us to “live forever.”

Connecting the Gospel (John 6: 41- 51) to the first reading: The miraculous provision of bread in the wilderness sustains Elijah’s physical life for the journey to Horeb, the mountain of God. Jesus offers to his disciples the food of his teaching as well as his own flesh for the journey to eternal life.

Connecting the Gospel to our experience: When we love another, we open ourselves to the mystery of who that person is. In this gospel Jesus invites us to love him, to encounter the mystery of who he is: the “living bread” who brings us to “live forever.”

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(John 6: 41-51)

“Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.”

But they went on murmuring. Bread, you say?
Coming down from heaven?
Well, we know his mother and father.
They live just down the street!
Jesus answers: Forget knowing. It’s all about believing.
Believe that I love you.
That I give my life for you,
not to just get you across the desert,
but because I want you  to be a part of me forever.
And I want you to take me with you
and let me transform the world through you.
Jesus, we do try to believe.
Be our food and drink! Be our everything!

The First Reading

(I Kings 19: 4-8)

“Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water.”

O God, we know about Elijah. We know his cry:
“It is enough, O Lord! Take my life!”
But it is you, Lord, not a hearth cake,
that we need for our food; courage to leave
the broom trees of our comfort zones,
and strength for the miles to come.

The Second Reading

(Ephesians 4:30- 5:2)

“Live in love, as Christ loved us.”

Holy Spirit, help us repair all the wrongs
wherever we find them — in our ecosystems,
discrimination, and neglect of the poor.
As Christ loved us, let us love one other.
Let us “be kind to each other,
and compassionate, forgiving one another
as God has forgiven us.

Copyright © 2021, Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection