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Homily of 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.

I am the Bread of Life


1st Reading: Exodus 16:2-4; 2nd Reading: Ephesians 4:17. 20-24; Gospel: John 6:24-35

God created us uniquely in His own image and likeness. We are composite beings with body, Soul and Spirit. These essential aspects of humanity are always in need of satisfaction. The food of the body is physical (bread, meat, water etc.). When we are hungry, we become weak and tired. Even after eating, we are not fully satisfied but still become thirsty. The food for the Soul is spiritual (Eucharist and Word of God) (John 4:34; 6:35).

In the FIRST READING, due to Impatience and Lack of Faith, the Israelites became annoyed with Moses and God, for leading them into the desert where they did not have enough food to eat. But they were given Manna and meat to eat subsequently. Meanwhile, the food they ate in the desert did not actually come from heaven, but were in themselves natural to that region. The quails were migratory birds that left Africa for Europe during Spring, flying over the Sinai peninsula. They usually pass over the Sinai desert for 6 months every year and returned in Autumn by the same route. After a long flight over the sea, they would be exhausted and could be easily captured when they alighted in Sinai. Evening was the best time to catch them as they settle down to rest.

Furthermore, the manna also came naturally from the Tamarisk trees. When insects stinged on them, viscous substances would exude from them. When they fall on the floor, they harden into sweet wafers-like (flakes) substances, but would melt again when the sun grows strong. They had to be collected early in the morning. It is interesting to note that both the quail and manna were natural products of the place, but the abundance of them in that vicinity as at that period was God’s miraculous deeds.

In the GOSPEL, Jesus says, “I am the True Bread that comes down from heaven.“ Anyone who truly believes in me, and eats, will never go hungry nor be thirsty. Jesus Christ is the bread of life that satisfies us. His love motivates us and gives us the strength or grace to do the will of God. Just like Christ, His food is to do the Will of His Father, because He is always in Communion with Him (John 4:34). Meanwhile, there are so many people who want to do good, but they are finding it difficult. The good news is that, the key that unlocks the power to do God’s will is eating the spiritual food (Holy Eucharist and Word of God). However, before we receive the grace, we should genuinely repent from our sins by going to sacramental confession which is the prerequisite to gaining divine strength.

Surprisingly, the Jews in the gospel were not really interested in Jesus, nor were they looking for Him because of the miracle He performed, but because of material food (bread), and thus demanded for signs for them to believe in Him. Similarly, many people today are trooping into the Church: for Adorations, Crusades, Vigils, etc (these are good) overnight because of one or two challenges or problems in their lives. But the question is, are they truly looking for Jesus? Assuming they have all their material needs fulfilled, would they still have time to go and worship God the way they were doing beforeOr if they don’t get instantly what they want, would they still be patient and have Faith in God?  Some people grumble too much when the things they hoped for are not forthcoming and have even engaged themselves into different devilish endeavours due to impatience, why? Because of Impatience and Lack of Faith (James 4:1-12).

Finally, in the SECOND READING, St. Paul urges us not to live aimless lives without a purpose, or following the illusory. Rather, “our minds should be renewed by a spiritual revolution, having a new self in the way God created us.” Since our body is the Temple of God (1Corinthians 6:19)when Christ comes in us via His Eucharistic Body, blood or Word, He will detoxify our spirit from evil. Thus, we receive life, and ought to become what we eat; having Christ-like character. Recall in John 2:13-22 (Cleansing of the Temple…). Therefore, since Christ Has given us His Body and Blood as our spiritual food and drink that we may gain eternal life, let us be confident in receiving Him daily.

Peace of Christ be with you…

Rev. Fr. Ben Okala, C.S.Sp.

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23 thoughts on “Homily of 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.”

  1. Wow! This is amazing padre. May God give you more energy and healthy life to continue ministering to his people . Amen

  2. Good Day Fr.
    Happy new month.
    Thank you so much for your homily that teaches us to seek the Christ himself and not the bread( food) that passes away for in Christ Jesus that everything thing is possible.
    Thanks for your strength of evangelism and I
    pray that Almighty God will bless you, keep you and strengthen you more to do your work as a priest in the Lords vineyard through Christ our Lord, Amen.

  3. Fr. Ben,
    Thank you for throwing more light into the origin of the “manna from heaven” that God miraculously provided to the Israelites in the desert! May God continue to nourish with his Word & Food for Eternal Life! Amen.

  4. Wow!!!! This is lovely and good for one’s spiritual life. Thanks for granting me an opportunity to be part of this life changing site

    1. I give glory to the Almighty God for the wisdom & direction. You’re welcome Engr. Tochukwu. May the Holy Spirit sanctify & strengthen you and your family in all your endeavours through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

  5. Romans 8:19: “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God” (NKJV). Fr. may the LORD empowers you more & makes this medium channel of blessing to God’s people. Amen

    1. Amen. I thank God for His graciousness upon me. Thank you so much my dear Chief Ifeanyi Okudo. May the Power of the Holy Spirit envelope you and your family through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

  6. Good morning Father and Happy New Month.
    Your Homily is quite inspiring as it teaches us to be thankful and show gratitude all the time.
    May God in his infinite goodness continue to shower you with his blessings and be gracious to you as you continue to work in his Vineyard and win souls to him.

    Do not despair but be faithful to God. Amen.

  7. Onyeyili, Christian Matthew Ifeanyi

    This is wonderful, may God grant you more wisdom to continue in guiding his children. Amen

    1. Mrs Perpetua chiamaka OKpala Ezeiruaku

      Much interesting and wonderful. More wisdom and knowledge to do more exploit ijn Amen

      1. Amen. Thanks be to God Almighty. Thank you very much Mrs. Perpetua. May the Almighty God continue to shower His Divine Blessings upon you through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

  8. Wow, father thanks to your write up. I was able to know about the origin of the manna(tamarisk tree) and quail.
    Having patience and trusting in God in all occasions.

    We should always love God not because of material things but because he genuinely loves us.

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