Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
July 29, 2018
If you’ve traveled through an airport in another country where a different language is spoken, you know the importance of signs—graphics that tell where to change money, catch a taxi or train, and of course, find the restroom! These signs need to be clear lest there be misunderstanding. When we exchange more complex signs, such as in a relationship, we choose them even more carefully—for the risk of misunderstanding is even greater.
Beginning today, our Gospel readings for five weeks come from chapter six of John’s Gospel, where Jesus is portrayed as the “Bread of Life.” In today’s selection, Jesus feeds a crowd of hungry people with a few loaves of bread and some fish. The people are looking for a prophet–someone like Moses, who promised that a heroic figure like himself was to come in the future.
Having witnessed the sign of the feeding of the crowd, some misunderstand and want to make Jesus king. He departs rather than be drawn into their misguided interpretation of his purpose.
Like other signs we use, those surrounding our celebration of Eucharist are open to misunderstanding—or at least we can take them for granted. Let’s let today’s Gospel lead us more deeply into these signs, to discover the person of Jesus Christ–present as the Bread of Life, the very life of God.