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Monday, September 07, 2015

2 August 2015 - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Shared Homily Starter

First Reading:
Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Second Reading:
Ephesians 4:17-24
John 6:24-35

The Vancouver Pride Parade is taking place this afternoon. I'm wearing my rainbow stole as a sign of our community's inclusiveness. In this community of Christ, in all our diversity, we are one. As such God's commands and God's love includes all of us.

Today's reading from the Book of Exodus described the time after God through Moses has led the Israelites from slavery and saved them from Pharaoh's army in the Red Sea. They are ungrateful for their deliverance. They have no food and fail to trust in God's faithfulness and that God will provide. Instead of anger, God responds with food and another chance to follow God's instructions.

This is a pattern that has echoed through the ages down to our times. We are ungrateful for what we have. We sometimes even vilify God for some mishap in our lives. Yet the Creator never ceases to be their for us and provide us with another chance.

The second reading tells us that we are not to live like those who are ignorant of the gospel and the will of God. But the Lectionary text omitted the two verses that Paul uses to describe living in “the futility of their minds.” Paul characterizes this way of living as “darkened in understanding, alienated from the life of God because of their ignorance, because of their hardness of heart, they have become callous and have handed themselves over to licentiousness for the practice of every kind of impurity to excess.” The last verse has also been translated as, “ They have lost all sensitivity and have abandoned themselves to licentiousness, greedy to practise every kind of impurity.” The biblical idea of impurity was not confined to matters of sex. Rather impurity relates to matters of intemperance, such as over indulgence, self-indulgence, selfishness, insensitivity and greed.

So Paul tells us we must we put away our old selves prone to the excessive desire to acquire and possess more, especially material wealth, than we need or deserves. Instead we are to put on our original selves that God created bathed with true justice and holiness. We are to live lives of kindness, generosity, and compassion, not only human to human, but also human to all other forms of life.

This brings us to the gospel. The author of the Gospel of John uses every day things like bread and water as symbols with multiple meanings. When he writes, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life,” we know immediately that we're not being told about ordinary bread.

Most Christian commentators suggest that “bread of life” refers to the Eucharist. What they don't often mention is that to follow Christ is to be Eucharist to and for each other. Jesus says, “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world” and “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.

To come to Jesus and to believe in Jesus means to live into our Christ selves and to live with hearts and lives full of love, kindness, generosity, and compassion. So that we who eat become bread for others and so with our God become co-providers of life to the world.

Please share your thoughts.

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