Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings:    Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15;    Ephesians 4: 17-14;    John 6: 24-35

Many years ago, there was a song sung at Mass that said, “look beyond the bread you eat, see your Savior and your Lord, look beyond the wine you drink and see your Savior and your Lord.”

Last weekend and this weekend we read and hear about the feeding of God’s people on journey to the promised land and as they yearned for the food of life that only comes from God.

Like the song above suggests, we who receive this gift of God – this bread and wine, this Holy Communion – need to look beyond…

For we who eat the bread of life are called to put on the new selves of righteousness, holiness and truth.   We need to not only take care of ourselves, but we need to look beyond ourselves and care for one another and others.

True story:     After lecturing at a University in Canada, a minister found himself stranded in a bus station during a surprise October snowstorm.    Cold and wet, he finally found a seat at the bus café counter.   A cranky, tired man in a greasy apron took his order – all they had was soup, one kind.   So the minister ordered soup.   The gray goop was the worst thing he had ever eaten.   He wrapped his hands around the bowl – at least it kept his hands warm.

Then the door opened again, letting in the icy wind.   “Close the door!” somebody yelled.    In came a woman in a threadbare coat.    She took a seat not far from the minister.   The cranky man in the greasy apron took her order.  “Glass of water,” she mumbled.

He brought the water.    “Now, what do you want?”

“Just a glass of water and a chance to get warm.”

“Look, I have customers that pay – what do you think this is a Church or something?   If you are not going to order, you have got to leave!”

The man got real loud about it.   So she got up to leave – and, as if rehearsed, everybody in the little café got up and started toward the door.    The minister got up and said to the man in the greasy apron, “I am voting for something here; I do not know what it is.”

“All right, all right, all right,” the cranky man in the greasy apron said.   Everybody sat down again and he brought the woman a bowl of soup.

The minister asked the person sitting next to him, “who is she?”

“I never saw her in here before,” was the reply.

The place grew quiet; all the minister heard was the sipping of that awful soup.     The minister decided to try it again and put his spoon into the bowl.

“You know”, said the minister later, “it really was not bad.  Everyone was eating the soup, and it was pretty good soup.   I have no idea what kind of soup it was.   I do not know what was in it, but I do recall when I was eating it, it tasted a little bit like bread and wine.   Just a little like bread and wine.”

May we as person, families and parish continue to allow the word, the eucharistic sacrament we hear and share in each week to guide us in being authentic disciples of the Lord… worthy of the name and eager to share “our bread” with others.