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July, 28 2015

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B)

Rev. Michael Seger

Remember the old radio commentator Paul Harvey?  He trademark—his “shtick,” as they say in show business, was telling engaging human interest stories. Halfway through the story he would stop—tantalizing you with only part of the story – then later finish the story with his famous tag line, “And that’s the rest of the story.”

Last week Jesus gave us page one. Jesus feeds the hungry crowd —The great miracle of the loaves and fishes. The folks rush to make Jesus their king. "More miracles they cry!" "Happy days are here again. Our troubles are over! No more working for our daily bread."  

But Jesus leaves them—

Today we get, the “rest of the story." The joyous crowds search for Jesus—and track him down. But he confronts them. He tells them: "You don’t want me, you want a miracle worker to make all hunger in your life disappear."  

Today, looking into that crowd, we see familiar faces—our own—pressing in about Jesus. And His question is as real today as it was to the crowd at the edge of the lake. What is the question, you ask? Are the deepest hunger pangs only the rumblings of an empty stomach?

Indeed not.

It’s not “stomach food". The deepest hunger is for spiritual food—the presence and indwelling of God in our hearts. Knowing that peace that is beyond all understanding. The answer to our questions when the night grows long and dawn finds too many hurts and questions unanswered.

Life doesn’t have quick fixes, so, Jesus doesn’t want us to settle for junk food. Our Lord offers us his very presence and this bread, like the manna in the desert, showers down upon us as pure gift—as pure grace. When the dawn comes; when Jesus fills our hearts and minds, our spirits can be hopeful. Even in the face of failure, sickness and hurt.

This promise is food for the soul; food that will never leave us hungry, no matter what life throws our way. We want this bread of life forever. Listen to the deep aching filling the words of the man who says to Jesus, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

The Eucharist we celebrate this day is this bread of life come down from heaven. This bread to feed the deep cry of the heart—"Sir, give us this bread always!"  We hear Jesus say to each of us. "Behold the Lamb of God. Behold the one who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are we who are called to His supper."

God invites us to the living table of His only Son and at this table, the Holy Spirit writes on our hearts, the “rest of the story.”

 

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