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19th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Bread from Heaven


“The Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, ‘I am the bread that came down from heaven,’ and they said, ‘Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, “I have come down from heaven?”’ Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Stop murmuring among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God. Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me’” (John 6: 41 – 45).

The people John writes about in this Gospel passage would not hear what Jesus proclaimed, because they knew his family, where he grew up, and how he grew up. Certainly God’s Messiah could not come from among them, from a poor family. He could not be a mere tradesman.

Think of last week’s Gospel. The people asked Jesus what they must do to accomplish the work of God. Jesus simply said that they must “believe in the one he sent” (John 6:29). Here, the people judged Jesus because he did not fit the appearance of the messenger they were expecting. By refusing to believe and listen to Jesus, they closed themselves off to the possibility of something greater happening in their lives.

God is greater than our expectations and imaginations and will use whomever he chooses to bring about his reign here on earth.

Can you think of a situation in which you chose to believe or disbelieve someone’s words based solely on the speaker’s appearance or what you thought you knew about that person?

Adapted from PrayerTime: Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, available at the RENEW International store

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