Thursday, August 2, 2018

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

"Would that we had died at the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!"    Ex. 16:3

On the 18th Sunday of ordinary time we divert from Mark’s gospel and begin the “Bread of Life Discourses” from the gospel of John. The people are hungry and look for Jesus because he had recently fed 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. 

Jesus seizes the opportunity to introduce the concept of eternal food.  In his lesson, Jesus refers to today’s first reading from the book of Exodus. The Israelites are hungry and thirsty as they wander through the desert. Losing hope, they grumble against Moses and Aaron: "Would that we had died at the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!

This story would be familiar to those to whom Jesus speaks, as they are the descendants of the people in the story. They would also know two important lessons/rules contained in the subsequent part of the story

1. Anything kept overnight would be worm-infested by morning.

2. The exception to rule #1 would be the day before the Sabbath where God would provide and the people would collect double portions. In this way, the Sabbath would remain a day of rest.

Readings such as these never fail to make me examine my own life. Do I trust in God’s providence? Am I generous with my time, talent and treasure? Do I take (or make) what I need? Or do I break rule 1 and try to hold on to as much as I can, forgetting that the excess never seems to maintain its value?

Thankfully, Jesus’ words are not words of condemnation. Perhaps the struggles you and I feel are inspired by the Holy Spirit? This reminds me  of something I learned a long time ago:  the Spirit convicts, corrects and converts.
Blessed to be in ministry at St. Mary’s,


We say so long for a while to today’s cantor Gabrianna Boomer. Gabrianna will be working for the Walt Disney Company at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida as a Children's Activities Cast Member.
She, like our other cantors have been hand selected from the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry at Montclair State University. These talented, faith-filled young people have played a major role in helping me develop the music ministry that you, the parishioners of St. Mary’s deserve.
Good luck, Gabrianna!  Say “Hi!” to Mickey. See you real soon. 

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