Select Sunday > Sunday Web Site Home > Spiritual Reflections > Glancing Thoughts
Glancing Thoughts
18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Year A
August 2, 2020
Eleonore Stump

The Bread of Life

In the First Reading, God promises that he will feed his people well. Given this promise, the story in the Gospel Reading makes perfect sense: Jesus feeds the people who come to him with bread, the kind of ordinary bread that a person needs for his body to live.

But pause here a minute: how many of God’s people go without food every day in this world? Where is the promised feeding of God?

The bread Christ offers stills the deepest hunger of all, and the life that Christ gives conquers all death.

In fact, look at the list of things in the Second Reading that Paul says cannot separate us from the love of God. Famine is on Paul’s list, and so is every other kind of suffering.  Why do we have to be told that hunger won’t separate God’s people from God? What happened to God’s promise that he will feed his people?

As far as that goes, in the First Reading, God says to his people, “Come to me that you might have life.” But even death is on Paul’s list of things that cannot separate us from the love of God. Why should Paul have to tell us that death won’t separate us from God if God has promised to give us life instead of death?

If God’s promises to feed us and to give us life mean that some of us will suffer famine and all of us will die, what good are these promises?  What do they mean? What are we to hope for in God’s promises?

Here we should remember what Christ says about food and life: “I am the bread of life. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:35, 51).

There are different kinds of hunger and different kinds of life, aren’t there? The bread Christ offers stills the deepest hunger of all, and the life that Christ gives conquers all death.

So the sufferings of this world—hunger, death—remain. But the Second Reading is right to say that they cannot separate us from the love of Christ. The promises of God, that he will feed us and we will live, are fulfilled in the bread of life that is the Lord.
Eleonore Stump

Eleonore Stump is Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University


Art by Martin (Steve) Erspamer, OSB
from Religious Clip Art for the Liturgical Year (A, B, and C). This art may be reproduced only by parishes who purchase the collection in book or CD-ROM form. For more information go http://www.ltp.org