Homily of the 19th Sunday in the Ordinary Time Year B:
Sunday Homily Theme: “The Eucharist: Food for Pilgrims”.
Sometimes in life, we become so weary, helpless and hopeless in the face of certain challenges. At such moments, it is possible to lack the will and courage to continue with life. Everything becomes so unbearable that we wish life comes to an end immediately. This was the situation Elijah found himself in today’s first reading (1 Kings 19:4-8). He was tired of life and asked God to take his life. He thought it was useless going on with life because of the wrath of Jezebel he incurred after the killing of the prophets of Baal. Elijah was on his way to Mount Horeb at that time. He was tired and wearied on his journey and decided to lie down and sleep perhaps to die in his sleep. But the angel of the Lord woke him twice and gave him food and water to support him in his journey. Strengthened by the food, Elijah continued his journey and reached his destination.
We too may have experienced situations similar to that of Elijah, when we thought of giving up. It could have been the loss of a love one, the collapse of a business, the loss of huge capital or asset, a painful betrayal, conspiracy or disappointment, etc. At those moments, it is possible to have even wondered why God kept us alive or is still keeping up alive to witness such horrible situations. Like Elijah so many of us have been discouraged in life perhaps because after doing good to others we were repaid with evil, jealousy, wickedness and disappointment. Such persons remain passive in their spiritual lives because there is no more energy or zeal to keep moving until they reach their destination.
Today, in the gospel reading (John 6:41-51), Jesus teaches us how to overcome our disappointments and worries. He is inviting us to believe in him so that we may have eternal life. Eternal life means to be free from our worries, disappointments, sorrows, tribulations, etc. and this eternal life is coming with the bread of life he is offering us at the Eucharistic table. Just as Elijah received food for his journey and was strengthened so the Lord gives us the bread from heaven to strengthen us in our journey in life and towards eternity. We are pilgrims on earth and the journey is a long distance. Along the way so many things weigh us down, discourage us, and make us disappointed, tired, weak and helpless. At such moments, it is only Jesus, the Bread of Life that can strengthen and sustain us because He is the food for pilgrims like us.
Therefore, beloved friends, have you ever identified your spiritual life as a journey? Have you ever felt weak, tired, disappointed or discouraged on this journey? Then you need to appreciate this unique dimension of the Holy Eucharist as food for pilgrims who are on a journey to our heavenly home. When you fall or get tired or persecuted or displaced by unfavourable situations, do not be discouraged like Elijah. Strive to continue the journey The Eucharist is that bread of life from heaven and it will give you the energy needed for the journey. When we appreciate this bread from heaven by adoration and reception, it is only then that we can really love our fellow pilgrims knowing that we have the same destination – heaven, as the second reading (Ephesians 4:30-5:2) tells us. This energy will enable us become friendly, kind and forgiving so that we assist each other on the journey especially those who are spiritually weak. Therefore, with joy, why not approach the Eucharistic table today to renew your strength. God loves you. Happy Sunday.
Fr. Chibuike Uwakwe