Gospel Reflections

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 6:24-35

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Masako Miyake

Published: August 02, 2015

Read John 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus. Read More…

Each season has signs, which bring to the Japanese people the real feeling of each season. The chirp of the cicada indicates that it is summer. Our community house of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Hiroshima is on top of a hill, surrounded by trees. Now, the cicadas are shrilling in the day time.

The other day, I saw a TV program, showing the life of cicada. The cicada insects cast off the old shell several times under the ground. After about 7 years, they come out from the ground, and cast off the last shell to fly. It is a long beautiful process. This process reinforced for me an image in St. Paul`s message on this Sunday.

“…you must put aside your old self … put on the new self that has been created in God’s way …” (Ephesians 4・22-24)

If we look back upon our own life history, we discover some experiences of ‘casting off the shells.’ I found some experiences in my own life. When my mother gave birth to my younger brother, I was 2 years old. All my family members gathered around him and not me as every previous day. So, I had to be on my own and I even went to bed by myself. It was a time that I understood myself as myself. A as a a child, after receiving lessons in Buddhism and its practices, I was called by Jesus to be a Christian; I was baptized at age 10. I discovered that I am living in the big, loving hands of God. I was alone but together. When I was in Junior High School, we were asked to report our future plans. I went to the parish church to think about my future. With prayer, I knew that anything I would do should be a gift of return to God. I found the best answer. I decided to put myself into a gift box so that God could freely use me. Later, I recognized a call to the life of a religious Sister. So I entered the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. After I made my First Vows, I went to study at a co-educational, non-religious University where, as Christian, I learned much about social issues and ethics. Then my ministry as a high-school teacher gave me the daily opportunity to put the students, instead of myself, at the center of my life and to change myself. Taking a summer course in the Philippines was a big chance to cast the hard shell. I found concrete evidence in people of how the Holy Trinity lives and works within us. This experience enabled me to encounter the reality of persons living in poverty, as I reflected also on the homeless here in Hiroshima, Japan.

Each of us may have experienced, in some way, ‘casting off the shells.’ Like the cicada, we cast off the old self more than once in our lives. Casting off the old shell is a grace but sometimes it can be an experience of loss and pain. So, we say ‘we had delicious meat dish in Egypt, but now we are wandering around in the wild with almost starving and thirsty.’ (Exodus 16:3)

In the Gospel today, Jesus says to us;

  • “ Work for food that endured to eternal life.”
  • “ My father gives you the true bread, the bread of God.”
  • “ I am the bread of life.” (John 6・24-35)

We know and believe the true bread of life. We already receive the gift of life in Jesus and being fed by Jesus as true food. Let us cast off the old shells and put on the new shell with trust and courage. Let us have hope to cast off the last shell and fly into the open heart of our Father...

During this year, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II. We remember also those who died or were injured by the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The memory begins to fade. Yet, it is important to look back to the past to learn lessons for goodness and peace, and to take responsibility for a new future, in building the Kingdom of God, with peace.





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