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  Word To Life

Sunday Scripture Readings, Aug. 5, 2012

By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service

Aug. 5, Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle B. Readings:

1) Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15

Psalm: 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54

2) Ephesians 4:17, 20-24

Gospel: John 6:24-35

As the story goes, it had been raining for days and the river was about to flood over its banks. All the people in the town had been warned to evacuate, but there was one person who simply prayed to God to be saved. The floodwaters came up to his house, and a firetruck came by and asked the person to come with them, but he said, "No, thanks, God will save me." The waters continued to rise, and the man had to hang out his window to stay dry. He prayed again to be saved.

A boat came by and offered a ride and he said, "No, thanks, God will save me." Soon the water was about to engulf his entire home, and he had to climb to the top of the roof to stay dry. He again prayed to God to save him. A helicopter came and lowered a rope for him, and he said, "No, thanks, God will save me."

The floodwaters continued to rise and the man died. When he got to heaven, God was waiting for him. The man let God know he was pretty ticked off. After all, he had prayed three times to be saved. God answered: "I, too, am pretty ticked off; I sent a fire truck, a boat and a helicopter."

In a way, this reminds me of the people in the Gospel this week. They had seen Jesus multiply loaves and fish, and they tracked him down and asked him to show them a sign that he was from God. I can imagine Jesus thinking, "Wow, what's a guy gotta do?" But of course he doesn't say that. He gently rebukes them and reminds them that just as their ancestors received bread from heaven, so too they would receive bread from heaven, and in fact the new bread from heaven would be bread that will give life to the world.

They of course want this bread, and Jesus tells them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

From time to time, we all desire a sign from God. A sign of this kind is not magic or something we can coerce out of God; rather the sign often comes when we least expect it and in a way we had not imagined, maybe even as a firetruck.


Have you ever received a sign from God? In what ways does Jesus, the bread from heaven, give life to the world?


"For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." -- John 6:33.


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