Date: Sunday, August 09, 2015
Perhaps you have heard this simple story. A little girl gets up in the middle of the night frightened of “things” in her room. She goes to her parent’s bedroom. Mom gets up and takes her back. Mom turns on the lights and together they check the closet and look under the bed. No ghosts or spooks! Mom tucks her in assuring the little girl that there is nothing to be afraid of and “God is always with you.” The daughter replies: “I know but when it is dark I need a God I can touch.” The communication between daughter and mother using words and touch e.g. tucking her back into bed, illustrate God’s revelation or communication with us e.g. using words and gestures. In our first reading, the Book of Kings, Elijah is fleeing the wrath of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Exhausted the prophet pleads to God to end his life. He sleeps in dark desperation and despairs — until an angel (messenger of God) touches him and says: “Get up and eat.” There beside him is a hearth cake (biscuit or scone) and jug of water to strengthen him for a 40 day journey to the Mountain of God. God communicates with Elijah through both words and provisions. In the Gospel Jesus is engaged in a lengthy discourse on the “bread of life.” The “bread of life” is the living word of God. Jesus quotes the prophets: “They all shall be taught by God.” Jesus is teaching using words and applications. He says: “All who listen to God the Father and learn from him, come to me.” And then Jesus goes on to say: “I am the living bread come down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Jesus is deepening the meaning of “bread of life.” Jesus is the revelation of God and he intends to give his very life in bread as “flesh” for the life of the world. Do you see the parallel to the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist? Jesus is present in the proclamation/reflection on the living Word of God and Jesus is present in Holy Communion, his body and blood, for the life of the world. The little girl says when it is dark she needs a God she can touch. That is true for all of us. It is also true that we need a God who touches us – through Jesus Christ.