Homily for 18th Sunday of Yr B (Jn 6:24–35)

Well, wonderful things have been happening in and around London, Team GB have been defying expectations, but something far more wonderful will happen here this morning.  Instead of a world which says it’s what you achieve that’s important, we are told by God that it’s what you believethat really matters. It sounds strange, many people will think that I am mad for saying it, but Olympic glory will fade, others will be faster and stronger. What we are to strive for is a glory which is more than gold or silver: the glory of heaven, the joy of eternal life in God, and of believing in him, and doing his work in the world.
        In this morning’s Gospel, we see people who have been fed in the miraculous feeding, the feeding of the five thousand, following Jesus around. Perhaps they’re hoping for another free lunch? They haven’t seen the signs; they haven’t understood what’s going on. Jesus feeds people not as a combination of magic trick and mass catering, but as a sign of God’s generous love. That God loves us, you and me, all of us, so much, that he longs to feed us with himself, that he gives himself to be tortured and die on the Cross for us, to show us that he loves us.
        Jesus wants us to believe in him, to trust in him, to be fed by him, with him, the Word of god made flesh, to be fed by word and sacrament, to be strengthened to run our race, and to live out that faith in the world around us. Jesus is the true bread come down from heaven which satisfies our spiritual hunger in a way which the world: success, money, possessions, what we have and what we do, cannot. He is the living water which satisfies the thirst of our souls. If we believe in Him, and in Him alone, we will never be thirsty. He gives us not what we want, but what we need: a love, a true love which gives meaning to human love, and to all of human existence. If we trust in God, and live our lives according to his will, loving God and each other, with faith in him alone, we can be victorious, and win a prize far greater than a medal of gold or silver, we can win a reward which lasts far longer than human praise or glory: the crown of eternal life and the glory of heaven. So let us be fed by him, with him, nourished by word and sacrament, let us believe in him, let us love Him and one another, and live lives which proclaim his life, his truth and his victory to the world around us: a victory which allows us to win a greater prize, a greater glory than that of the Olympics – true life, true glory, and true joy with him forever in Heaven, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

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