Saturday, August 1, 2015

Aug. 2, 2015: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time B

Aug. 2, 2015: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time B
Click to hear Audio Homily
Are you pretty good at spotting food that is spoiled in your refrigerator? If the food seems to have slimy texture, stinky odor, spotty or chunky appearance, should you just throw it away? It’s a shame to throw out food, for it’s throwing hard-earned money in the trash. It’s also a shame knowing that  hunger is pervasive in the world. They say that there are some 795 million people in the world who do not have enough food each day to lead a healthy, active life. Just imagine for a moment--a family without a refrigerator. Hunger could be both physical or spiritual. Hunger is physical when we lack adequate food and drink to replenish our bodies. It is spiritual when we lack things like freedom, truth, love, compassion, and peace. Among these two types of hunger, people tend to satisfy the physical and neglect the spiritual, perhaps because they believe that once the physical or material hunger is satisfied, the spiritual hunger will take care of itself.

God sometimes attracts us with temporary earthly goods, benefits, and blessings, to draw us closer to himself where we will derive spiritual satisfaction.  In last week’s Gospel, Jesus satisfied 5,000 people who were physically hungry. In this week’s Gospel, people were flocking to Jesus expecting him to repeat the miracle. Instead, Jesus decided to let them know about the food that endures forever. He said, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” People then asked, 'What must we do if we are to carry out God's work?' Jesus replied,  'This is carrying out God's work: you must believe in the one he has sent.'

Most of us are spiritually hungry, and we don’t know it. We know intellectually where to go to be fed spiritually--to spend time in silence in prayer, to pray with the Word of God, to receive the living Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist--but we stop short of committing time to our spiritual life because we know that we have to give up time dedicated to all our other busy activities. St. Paul advises us in the Second Reading, to break away from the immoral conduct of the surrounding culture and live the new life afforded by the Holy Spirit who lives in us. It’s not enough that we are baptized and received religious lessons in primary and secondary school. Only when we rediscover everyday the truth that is in Jesus, believe, and decide to turn from sin, will we be able to enjoy the fruits of the Holy Spirit--charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, chastity.

Whenever we are wearied in our faith-journey, let us go to Jesus not just to replenish our worn-out bodies but also to replenish our worn-out spirits. How hungry are we for God? As we approach the Holy Eucharist (the bread of life) today, may we ask God for the grace to be more interested in our spiritual needs than in our physical needs.