2021 18th Sunday of the Year (B)
There are two things in life you need to feed: your body and your soul. The first is obvious; the second, much less so. If you don’t eat food you will die. Food gives us the nourishment to go on. If you don’t eat for days you will grow weak and, if you stop eating, you will die. But there is also food for the soul, which isn’t so obvious: you can’t see the soul. But it is just as important to feed the soul, indeed, it is more important, because the soul lives on forever. Jesus tells us in today’s gospel: “Do not work for food that cannot last, but work for food that endures to eternal life.”
When during mass we take communion, it is hardly food. I mean, there isn’t much of it. It’s just a wafer of bread. But this wafer is the body of Christ, food for our souls. Is it that our souls don’t need as much food as our bodies? That’s a good question. What we receive at communion, not matter how small, is sufficient for us. Without the eucharist we will become weak, we are in danger of stopping on our journey to God.
Jesus says, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never be hungry.” Notice that: “never be hungry.” There is such a thing as spiritual hunger. We may not recognize it as such. But many people experience it. Many will experience some kind of void, that nothing seems to fill. This experience is not obvious, it’s a feeling, we could call it a longing. Many try to hide from it, try not to think about it, but the longing won’t go away. What we are experiencing, sometimes without knowing it, is a longing, a hunger, for God. My soul is hungry for God and nothing can satisfy this hunger, this longing, only God. We were made for God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him. So, this is why Jesus comes to us as “the bread of life.” It is to satisfy that hunger and to fill us with good things; just as earthly food fills us with good things.
Every Sunday we receive Christ the bread of life. He who is food for our souls. With this food we can carry on. We will be happy, satisfied; no longer pining for something we can’t identify because we have found it. Never underestimate the importance of this spiritual food, it may not look much, but it is from heaven and it is for our wellbeing, our happiness. Nothing else on this earth will satisfy us.