Gospel Reflections

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 6:51-58

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Elizabeth Smoyer

Published: August 19, 2018

Read John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the crowds: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will... Read More…


Today we sing: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

Our hostess, Wisdom, greets us. She has built, not a tent that can easily be moved, but a sturdy, enduring seven pillared house. She has set her table with rich food and wine. She sends her maidens to invite the simple and those who lack understanding. She asks us to forsake foolishness that we may live and advance in the way of understanding. Wisdom, this feminine face of God, turns to us and invites us to see the feast for our bodies as a sign pointing us to the spirit, in our hearts, in our desire to love the good. She points us to our deepest hunger: love of God and the grace to respond to God’s  loving will grounded in creation and salvation. She asks us to trust God’s love even as we fail to understand our days and times and the suffering and oppression we see and are tempted to turn away from.

And so we sing: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

Paul implores us to be conscious of how we live, not as foolish persons but as wise. Make the most of the opportunity to live because his days, like ours, are evil. “Try to understand the will of the Lord.” Over and over again we are invited to see God’s will not as a command to be obeyed but as loving, persistent presence inviting our trusting, loving response.

And so we persist in singing: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

In John’s gospel Jesus says to the crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Our hunger for God is fed through signs like the love and care of community. Our hunger for God is nourished in our response to the persistent resilience, hope and struggle for dignity and freedom of people marginalized because of color, race, religious, ethnic or economic background. Our hunger for God is fed through the bread and wine we share in community at Eucharist.

In this Eucharistic presence and in the joys and sorrows, and hopes and griefs of our world, its peoples and the life of mother earth herself, we are fed and remain in Christ and Christ remains in each and all of us. Our hunger for God carries us through the threshold of suffering and death into the mystery of God’s enduring loving presence, always beckoning us to trust and to love.

In humble gratitude we sing: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

One could look at our Notre Dame Cross as an expression of this scripture’s theology. Our bronze cross, the cross of Christ, echoes the bronze serpent on Moses’ staff, the sight of which healed the Israelites in the desert. The underside of our cross holds the engraving of “Ah! Qu’il est bon le bon Dieu!” In the places a deepest suffering and confrontation with evil, God is offering an unending flow of goodness and love.

Therefore we joyfully sing: “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.”

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