1 Kgs 19:4-8
We are set apart and marked as God’s people to love and serve Him. Paul is exhorting us in today’s second reading to act like it. When he says “do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God,” he is exhorting Christians to avoid sin. We sin whenever we disobey one of God’s commands. In our society today, sin is often downplayed. More and more sins are becoming socially acceptable. This makes it increasingly more difficult to avoid sin. Oftentimes, we hear the phrase, “As long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s okay.” But have you ever considered how our sin hurts God? All sin is harmful to us but also “grieves” God and most of the time harms our human relationships too. Mortal sin (i.e. very grave sin) even breaks us off from our relationship with God. The Apostle Paul did not take sin lightly. He exhorts us to remove sin from our lives. We should avoid sin like the
plague! How do we do this? By pursuing the good. By being “kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another,” etc. We are called to “be imitators of God.”
While speaking with the crowds soon after the Multiplication of the Loaves miracle, during the time of the Passover, Jesus claimed to be “the bread that came down from heaven.” This upset the Jews. They could not comprehend how Jesus could have “come down from heaven” when they knew his parents and his local origins. Jesus then explained that people would only understand His heavenly origins and, therefore, His identity by God revealing it to them. He then stressed the importance of faith by stating, “whoever believes has eternal life.” Jesus also stressed that He is, in fact, “the bread of life.” Last week we heard about the manna that God provided for the Israelites in the wilderness during the period of the exile. Jesus explained that although the manna provided for the physical needs of the people, it could do nothing to save them from death. The bread He offers can lead to eternal life. It is nourishment for the soul. It is, in fact, Jesus Himself who is this bread that sustains us and allows us to “live forever.” And what is this bread? Jesus said, “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The bread is the Eucharist, which is the very body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus. It is food for our souls to unite us to God and grant us life everlasting. Therefore, let us come to the banquet and be nourished by the bread of life.