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August 2, 1991     The Message
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August 2, 1991

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August 2, 1991 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana i i i i i COmmentary I II I! I  Mass Readingd Gospel Commentary for Sunday, August 4, 1991; Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Cycle B: John 6: 24:35. Jesus had just fed five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish. The response of the people was to recognize Jesus as the awaited prophet and an attempt to force him to be their king. Jesus fled into the hills. His disciples got into a boat and started to cross from the northeast to the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee. They wanted to get back to Capernaum. Because of a strong wind they made little progress. Suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water. They took him into the boat and reached land. The people whom Jesus had fed knew the disciples had left without Jesus. They followed the disciples across the water. To their surprise they found Jesus with the disciples at Caper- naum. They asked him how he got there. Jesus gives na direct answer but accuses them of only =,wanting to get their stomachs filled. He tells them to work not for food that decays but for food that gives eternal life. How are they to work for this kind of food? The "work" they are to do is not work in the usual sense. It is faith in him whom God has sent. Now they want some proof of his being sent by God. The subject of Moses is brought up. They say Moses gave them manna in the desert. "What work do you perform to make us believe in you?" Jesus tells them it was not Moses who gave them the manna. He implies that it was rather his Fa- I I III I II I I The crowd looks for bread: Jesus offers true bread bread that gives life to the world. They respond: "Give us always this bread." We are in the middle of what is called "the eucharistic discourse" of Jesus. This is a difficult section of a difficult gospel. In the Gospel of John we must always look for deeper shades of mean- ing than the words at first would indicate. The subject of the eucharistic discourse is really twofold, i.e. the bread from heaven has two meanings that have been blended into one dis- course by various editors. In this earlier part of the discourse the bread from heaven is not the eucharist. It is rather the teaching of Jesus. The eucharist, i.e. the body and blood of Jesus, becomes the subject later in verses 52-58, a later addition to the chapter. Here in the earlier part the manna is interpreted as a symbol not of the eucharist, but of the teaching of Jesus. Even in the Old Testament, in the book of Dueteronomy, theologians were already giving a symbolic meaning to the manna long before Christianity came along. In Deuteronomy 8:3 we read this interpretation: "He fed you with manna...that he might make you understand that one does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. John is therefore relying on an ancient theological foun- dation when he speaks of the teachings of Jesus as true bread that came down from heaven. Jesus promises that this bread, his teaching, will give life to the world. It is the life of faith, faith that leads to eternal life. At the end of the ther who gave it. However, the Father now is gospel John had stated the purpose of his gospel: ready to give true or genuine bread from heaven, "...these things are written that you may believe 5 that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name." We see therefore that it is the teaching of Jesus that John has emphasized in his gospel. This emphasis does not exclude a reference to the eucharist, but such a reference is secondary in this part of the eucharistic discourse. How may we apply this whole difficult dia- logue of today's gospel to ourselves? The people address Jesus as "rabbi," a term which was com- ing into greater use for the Jewish scribes by the end of the first century when John wrote his gospel. On other occasions in this gospel Jesus is so addressed when John is about to present some intricate teaching. Another example would be the teaching about being born anew or being born from above in chapter three. In other words John is saying to the people of his community: "Listen carefully!" The gospels of the next three Sundays will continue the eucharistic discourse. By the use of these gospels the Church asks us to "listen care- fully" to the teachings of Jesus. They are the true bread that comes down from heaven, the bread that gives life to the world. We are asked to re- spond with acceptance or faith. We will see how John leads us in this chapter from faith in the teachings of Jesus to faith in the eucharist. The subject matter is very difficult. We approach with the closing words of today's reading as we ask for understanding: ,Lord, give us this bread always." Readings for Sunday, August 4, 1991: Exo- dus 16:2-4, 12-15; Ephsians 4:17, 20-24. I I I II I I annm race SUBSCRIBE TO ] Miller & Miller [ T.00.MESSAGE 424-9274 ' ": ' ' Peoples Trust Company COMPLETE INSURANCE SERVICE 59 souT. MA,. s r.EET Autol Homel Fire & Lifel P.O. BOX 101 Your Personal Service Agent LINTON, INDIANA47441 [ James L. Will Ins. Agency Inc. KNOX COUNTY L1925 W. Franklin Street 425-3187 SEED COMPANY I ' ' VINCENNES I EVANSVlLLESERVCE l ANOS.OPPNGGUOE I Fo. T.e BEs'r | PLUMBING SERVICE Irnilillilt m I RESIDFJCr/AL COMMERCIAL m I (FREE ESTIMATES) Sales & Service I THE [ | GRANT PLUMBING CO. W & 2-Way FM ] NK] U i GoldenJubiliaHans ' L Ph. 424-2441 PHONE (812)4,-7,,9 Clarence and Hazel (Brooks) Blake' of Evansville will cele- ' | Spa__ Idings ' Herman Goebe| " brate their flWb weddins anniversary w/th ,,/eption at 2 | FoodLand MotorCo. [ AFULLSBKEBANK [ p.m. Sunday, August 11, at St. Theresa Church, Evansville. i [ t 1 1 n NEWORUSF.DCARfl TIN ]hosts will be Mary Ulm, Mike Blake and Debbie Blake, 7 3 E. Moron 411 S BorKor Wherethetmetdeemomade . and their spouses. Friends and relatives are invited to the re- i    H/ ,  cq)tJo.;  ]1  "They were married/U ! PcM Cua of Id WOl W. 0eimme 4Sa-77S9 9, 1941.'11my have six srondc.hildrmn, two step-srandcbiJdren rleal"--'" ' M  "' ' '"' " m.u' ""-CRUSH-"'" .d = 8rut-. Blake was -.__'it'emplyed and retired Wet from Evmmville Auction after 30 years; she is a retired New & Ueed aoCem, Fumecm _"''--_r--"" "'' .-,  .. ." SERVICE I00STER staMEns For vr  AUTO GLASS CO. Ph. (8 2) 426.e e __ Call4lg00 I'kal.l, ,. ln'..(OIRG E MOLL, ..... i ill I J ......... l, _. - : I .