18th S. 2021: Food That Endures

Today’s homily is for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 1, 2021, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video can be viewed by clicking here.

Benjamin Franklin wisely said, “If you desire many things, many things will seem few.” I think we certainly live in a society that encourages “desiring many things.” I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to surfing Amazon Prime’s Deal of the Day! You know, I don’t really need anything, but maybe I’ll just look around a bit–invariably, I end up finding and buying something that I want, but if I’m being honest, probably don’t really need. Have you ever bought something you thought would be pretty good, only to never have taken it out of the package!?

Jesus tells us today, too many of us are spinning our wheels! Too many of us are working for food that does not satisfy! Too many of us are wanting things, and buying things, and are addicted to things that promise happiness, that promise fulfillment, but invariably leave us empty and wanting more. It’s like junk food! I mean, you can buy it, and chew it, and eat it, and it tastes pretty good, but they are empty calories. We pollute our body with sugars and fats and it does not satisfy. It always leaves us wanting more! Because the only thing better than one donut is two…and some donut holes maybe.

Too many of us reach for the donut instead of the apple, and we’re teaching our children to do the same. According to the Journal, Appetite, “Among children in the US, more than 27 percent of calories each day come from snacks, including salted snacks, candy, desserts, and sweetened beverages.” But this homily isn’t about donuts, it’s about everything that this world is offering us (donuts) to satisfy a need that only Jesus can fill (apple). 

Today’s Gospel is almost comical in the way people are acting, and Jesus just calls them out straight away. These guys were actually looking for Jesus, got into a boat, and stalked him paparazzi style. And then acted surprised when they saw him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?” Jesus says I know why you’re here…you think I’m the taco truck! You got a free lunch and now you want a free dinner too! Jesus says, you saw a miracle when I fed 5,000, but you’re still only looking for food! I like that you’re here, but you’re here for the wrong reason! It’s not about following the food, it’s about following the savior! 

Do we really believe that Jesus is the savior? Do we really believe that Jesus Christ is present in the Eucharist? Do we really believe that when we receive the Eucharist, we receive the food of eternal life? The Church teaches, “In the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself.” Do we believe it? Do we receive it in that way? Adore Him in that way? 

Too often, I admit, that I have not made Eucharist – Jesus – first in my life. I have reached for donuts instead of apples, the Bread of Life. What are those donuts? We have sports so we don’t go to Mass. We are on vacation so no Mass. We have to work–no Mass. I’m tired, no Mass. I’m hung over, no Mass. My team is playing, no Mass. Of course, I know I’m preaching to the choir–you’re here! But how about other areas of our life?

Do we read romance novels or the news instead of Scripture? Do we spend time watching t.v. instead of saying our evening prayers? Do we purchase for ourselves instead of being generous with others? Do we supporting ministries and ministers or are we focused only on ourselves?Jesus admonishes us today, do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life. Whoever comes to him will never hunger, and whoever believes in him will never thirst. Choose apples not donuts. Choose Jesus. He alone endures for eternal life.

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