Homily for the 19th Sunday in the Ordinary Time – Year B:
SUNDAY HOMILY THEME: “GET UP AND EAT”.
This is the 19th Sunday in ordinary time. The prophet Elihah ate and drank and was strengthened on his journey (1kgs. 19:4-8). Jesus gives us his body and blood to prepare us for the journey to heaven. He uses what we love and value as staple to preach to us. In every culture there is one item a people llke to eat most. For the Jews and most Western cultures bread is their staple. Among Asians, rice is never missed in their meals. Most Africans cherish yam fufu as staple. Among the Igbo of Southeastern Nigeria, the kola nut (oji) is the major item at every celebration.
Jesus used bread which the Jews cherish most to refer to himself. “I am the bread of life!” “I am the bread that Came down from heaven” (Jn. 6: 41- 51). He referref to their ancestors who ate manna in the desert. For them, the manna was not just a physical food but a spiritual food that sustained them throughout their journey to the promised land. When Jesus referred to himself as the bread that came down from heaven, the people became furious and began to question if this man is not the Jesus whose family they knew?
How can this man give us his flesh to eat? We are not canivorous animals? But Jesus insisted, “No one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me, and l will raise him up on the last day.” To be among those Jesus would raise up on the last day, Paul advices us: “never have grudges against others, or lose your temper…” (Eph. 4:30- 5:2). We are meant to see Jesus as our bread of life. He is our spiritual nourishment. He presents to us his own body and blood as food for our journey to heaven. We are encouraged to eat the body and drink the blood of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist. He is indeed our food for everlasting life. Get up and eat! Happy Sunday.
-Fr Cajetan Anyanwu