19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

The journey to a profound and meaningful encounter with Our God is a long one, as the First Reading reminds us today. For Elijah the Lord sent an angel as his messenger to give him food and drink in order to continue on his pilgrimage to meet God and sort out what had happened in his mission and what needed to happen. Elijah had all but given up, but he was sent encouragement and nourishment along the way. He wanted the journey to be over, but the Lord still had plans for him.

In today’s Gospel God himself, the Son, has come to encourage the faithful, and today he tries to teach them that he is the Bread of Life who will sustain them in their pilgrimage toward eternal life. It’s difficult for the crowds to understand this teaching: they know Jesus, where he is from, who he parents are, so it’s hard for them to believe he has come down from Heaven. They’re earthly knowledge and reasoning are not enough: it’s time for faith. It’s not just a faith born in a vacuum: they’re receiving grace to help them believe and be open to the Heavenly Father’s messenger. If they open their hearts to the Father, the Father leads them to take the next step. They must believe in His Son, not just as a sure guide in their pilgrimage to eternal life, but as their nourishment to be able to undertake the journey and as their “sponsor:” his self-offering makes the journey possible at all.

Let’s thank Our Lord today for helping us in our journey toward eternal life, and open our hearts to whatever he is trying to teach us.

Readings: 1 Kings 19:4–8; Psalm 34:2–9; Ephesians 4:30–5:2; John 6:41–51. See also 3rd Week of Easter, Thursday.