11/12 August £811.17
My dear friends,
In the 1st Reading today from the Book of Kings we encounter a broken and very dispirited Elijah. He had placed his trust in God and been faithful to what God had asked him to do, but he finds that it has got him into a whole heap of trouble and has to flee for his life. He ends up in the “wilderness” (a metaphor for his emotional and psychological state) and tired and exhausted says to God, “I have had enough. Take my life…”. But an “angel of the Lord” appears, offering sustenance to help Elijah back onto his feet in order that he can continue his mission. This simple, but powerful story, echoes my own homily reflections of late where I have underscored the fact that, in order to live out our Christian vocation, we are very much dependent on ‘divine’ sustenance and inspiration.
In the 2nd Reading, it sounds as though the Christians of Ephesus have not been living up to their vocation; hot tempers, bickering and spitefulness have been the order of the day! Paul seeks to correct them by exhorting forgiveness and friendship – ‘try to imitate God’. As we know, easier said than done! For Paul, when a Christian fails in his/her duty of discipleship this is a cause of sadness to the Spirit – “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God”.
In the gospel this week we continue with the image of Jesus as the Bread of Life. Declaring Himself as such has caused great alarm among some of the people; “I am the bread that came down from heaven” is getting very close to blasphemy! Additionally, this ‘bread from heaven’ is also the boy from up the street! A lot for some people to take on board.
Indeed, I think that, if we’re going to take it seriously, faith in Christ is something which is both difficult and challenging to take onboard; so challenging, that we’re tempted to reduce it to a deal, a duty or a habit. In essence, it is a relationship, and like any relationship, something you have to invest in and work at.
Have a good week