19th Sunday of Year B

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CATHOLIC PRODUCTIONS (5:00) – In this intro video, which is for the Mass Readings on 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B), Dr. Pitre gets into the Bread of Life Discourse in John 6. Before Jesus can have the people understand that they must eat his flesh, he first must disclose to them his divine identity and have faith in him so that they can believe his teaching on the Eucharist.

Key Points to the Readings


1 Kings 19:4-8

The angel of the Lord came back to him

  • Elijah, discouraged and fearing for his life, flees into the desert and prays for death.
  • God’s answer to his prayer echoes the Exodus and desert experience of Israel.
  • Though he is discouraged and desperate when he flees into the desert, Elijah is transformed by the bread and water sent from God.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.


Ephesians 4:30-5:2

Live in love

  • Today’s passage describes the undeniable love that Christ has shown.
  • Paul reminds the Ephesians that they share in new life with God.
  • Christ gave his life for love of us; we must in turn show love to our neighbor.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.


John 6:41-51

No one can come to me unless my Father draws him or her

  • Those who hear Jesus describe himself as “bread from heaven”, murmur about Jesus being the Bread of Life.
  • This echoes Israel murmuring in the desert about food and water and leadership.
  • The difference between manna and Jesus is that those who ate the manna died, but those who eat the Bread of Life will live forever.
SOURCES: Content adapted from Our Sunday Visitor.  The clipart is from the archive of Father Richard Lonsdale © 2000 which may be freely reproduced in any non-profit publication.

Dr. Kieran J. O’Mahony, OSA


Navarre Bible



Click to access 19-ordinary-time-year-b.pdf

Sources include The Jerome Biblical Commentary, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and The Navarre Bible. In addition, Church History by Laux (TAN Books), Introduction to the Bible by Laux (TAN Books), A Guide to the Bible by Fuentes (Four Courts Press), and Sharing Our Biblical Story by Russell for background information. We also included quotations from The Faith of the Early Fathers (3 volumes) by Jergens and Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (many volumes) edited by Odum.
SOURCE: Bible study program at St. Charles Borromeo (Picayune, MS) courtesy of Military Archdiocese.
Raymond E. Brown

Introduction to the New Testament


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Ave Maria Press

A Catholic Study of God’s Word


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Niell Donavan

Sermon Writer


Richard Niell Donavan, a Disciples of Christ clergyman, published SermonWriter from 1997 until his death in 2020. His wife Dale has graciously kept his website online. A subscription is no longer required.

First Reading

Second Reading

Gospel Reading

saint louis university

Scripture in Depth


FIRST READING: In Christian usage this passage has a twofold interest: (1) it is a type of Jesus’ fast in the wilderness and of the Church’s Lenten fast (this passage forms the Old Testament lesson for Friday in the first week of Lent in Lesser Feasts and Fasts of the Episcopal Church); (2) it forms a type of holy communion.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM: Of this psalm the Jerome Biblical Commentary states: “A wisdom psalm, though it is widely classified as a psalm of thanksgiving.”

SECOND READING: This passage continues the parenesis of Ephesians. The baptismal references are again clear (“the Holy Spirit … in whom you were sealed” and “put away”).

GOSPEL:  The evangelist has worked in a tradition from the story of Jesus’ rejection in the synagogue at Nazareth as given in the Synoptists.


  1. THE WORD EMBODIED: Sustained
  3. THOUGHTS FROM THE EARLY CHURCH: Denis the Areopagite
  4. LET THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK: Bread and Faith
  6. GLANCING THOUGHTS: Grieving God
  8. A POEM TO SIT WITH: Jesus Speaks
Visit for more resources (e.g PRAYING TOWARD SUNDAY, MUSIC OF SUNDAY, GENERAL INTERCESSIONS) to help you reflect on the spirituality of the scriptures before Mass.

19th Sunday of Year B


Food for the Journey

God knows our needs and is attentive to fulfilling them. However, what we think we need isn’t always what He knows we need.

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
First Reading

Supernatural Food

In the First Reading, the prophet Elijah suffered not a crisis of faith but a crisis of expectation after he triumphed over the false prophets of Baal. He expected that the victory God helped him win against the pagan priests and their false god would result in repentance and turning back to the one true God for the people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel and their king. When national repentance did not take place, Elijah believed he had failed God his people. God responded to his prophet’s grief by giving him supernatural food for his journey to receive a spiritual renewal in a private revelation of the divine at Yahweh’s “holy mountain.”


In the failure of Israel to repent after his victory at Mt. Carmel over the pagan priests, the ninth-century BC prophet Elijah did not experience a crisis of faith but a crisis of expectation. He expected that his great victory over the false prophets of the Canaanite and Phoenician god Baal would result in the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom and their king repenting their sins of idol worship and apostasy from God’s holy covenant. He expected that they would turn back to Yahweh, destroying their pagan altars and driving out the false prophets. When this did not happen, Elijah felt his entire mission to call the Northern Kingdom of Israel to repentance had been a failure. Overcome with grief, he believed he had failed God and his people. But Elijah had not failed. On the contrary, he successfully completed the mission God gave him; it was the people of the Northern Kingdom and their king who failed.

The life of a prophet of Yahweh was very difficult. He faced rejection by his countrymen, who often were so immersed in their sins that they refused his message, and it was a life filled with loneliness. After the failure of the people to repent, Elijah went into the desert, and sitting under the shade of a broom tree, confessed to God what he considered his and his people’s failure.  Elijah was discouraged for two reasons:

  1. He believed he had failed in his mission to call the covenant people to repentance
  2. He knew the dark future that awaited the unrepentant Israelites. According to the prophecy of God’s prophet Ahijah, the Lord would expel the covenant people out from the Promised Land to suffer exile in pagan lands (see 1 Kng 14:15-16).

In verse 4, Elijah asked God to take his life because, in his depression, he saw no point in continuing to live. He cried out that he was no better than his sinful ancestors, referring to the Israelites who constantly complained and rebelled against God’s divine plan in the Biblical period of the Exodus liberation and the wilderness years (Ex 19:6; Lev 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7; Num 15:40; Dt 7:6; 14:2, 21b; 26:19; 28:9). The first generation of Israelites of the Exodus failed in their mission to be a “holy people” (e.g., Ex 19:6; Lev 11:44-45).  Their first failure was in worshiping the image of the Golden Calf; it was the same covenant failure repeated by the people of the Northern Kingdom that he had tried to save.

5 but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.  6 Elijah looked, and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water, 7 but the angel of the LORD came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”  8 He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.
Yahweh came to the aid of His faithful prophet, supernaturally providing bread and water. God’s angel explained to Elijah that he would need the nourishment for the strength to journey to Yahweh’s holy mountain. Horeb, also called Mt. Sinai, was where God first revealed Himself to the Israelites and called them out from among the Gentile nations to enter into a covenant relationship with Him. God formed them as a corporate covenant people who pledged to be obedient vassals to their Divine King and His Law (Ex 24:7-8). It is also where God gave Moses a private revelation of Himself when a distressed Moses asked Yahweh to “Please show me your glory” after the people’s sin of worshipping the idol of the Golden Calf (Ex 33:18).

When Moses requested a revelation of Yahweh’s glory, God told him, “my face …you cannot see, for no human being can see me and survive.”  Therefore, God put Moses in a cave and shielded him until God “passed by.” God did the same for Elijah (Ex 33:19-23; 1 Kng 19:9-18).  The miraculous feeding and the revelation of God gave Elijah the courage to continue his mission.

Like the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom, God calls us to turn away from sin and back to a relationship with Him. He calls us out of our earthly exile to repentance and restored fellowship through the Sacrament of Reconciliation on our journey to the Promised Land of Heaven. God gives us the supernatural “bread of Life” that is Christ (Jn 6:48) to strengthen and sustain us on our journey. The Eucharistic bread and wine that becomes our spiritual food and the revelation of Christ in the Eucharist gives us the strength to face a hostile world. The Eucharist also gives us the spiritual nourishment we need as we continue our mission to share the Gospel of salvation on our faith journey to the “mountain of God” in the heavenly Kingdom where, unlike Elijah, we will have the privilege of seeing God face to face.

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
Responsorial Psalm

There is Refuge in the Lord

Response: Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

In the Responsorial Psalm, the psalmist tells of having experienced the power of the Lord’s mercy in a time of distress. He testifies to the Lord’s faithfulness, deliverance, and protection. And he invites everyone who reads his testimony to “taste” God’s goodness for themselves by appealing to His mercy, taking refuge in the Lord God, and celebrating communion with God in the sacred meal of the Toda (pronounced to-dah, which in Hebrew means “thanksgiving”), the sacrifice and sacred meal that reestablished peace and fellowship with God.

The superscription identifies Psalm 34 as a Psalm of David: Of David, when he feigned insanity before Abimelech, and Abimelech sent him away (NJB, Ps 34:1 in NABRE). The psalmist begins by praising God as he invites the afflicted to unite themselves to Yahweh, who hears their cries and will deliver them from adversity (verses 2-4, 6). The other verses give his reasons why the faithful should praise the Lord. He has experienced the power of the Lord in his life in times of distress, and he bears witness to God’s faithfulness, deliverance, and protection. Finally, he invites others to “taste and see how good Yahweh is,” perhaps meaning to experience God’s goodness for themselves by appealing to God’s mercy and taking refuge in Him. Or he may be referring to literally “tasting” God’s mercy in the sacred “thanksgiving” communion meal of the Toda that reestablished peace and fellowship with God (Lev 7:11-15/7:1-5).

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.
Second Reading

Be Imitators of God

In our Second Reading, St. Paul reminds the Christians of Ephesus that God the Holy Spirit has “sealed” us “for the day of redemption” in the Sacrament of Baptism.  Submitting to Christian Baptism is an act of faith necessary for our salvation in which the Christian dies to sin and experiences a resurrection to a new life in Christ Jesus (see Mt 16:16Eph 1:13 and 2 Cor 1:22). However, baptized Christians can “grieve the Holy Spirit” when they do not live in the image of Christ in their new life but instead exhibit traits of the old, sinful life. When we receive the sacred meal of the Eucharist, in imitation of Christ, we surrender our lives to God, and He gives us “food for the journey” through this life so we can arrive at His “holy mountain” in Heaven.


God the Holy Spirit has “sealed” us “for the day of redemption” in the Sacrament of Baptism in which the Christian dies to sin and is resurrected to new life in Christ Jesus (see 1:13 and 2 Cor 1:22). Baptized Christians can “grieve the Holy Spirit” when they do not live in the image of Christ in their new life but instead exhibit traits of the old, sinful life. St. Paul lists those traits of the past life in verse 31, as he also lists the characteristics of living in imitation of Christ in verse 32. We become imitators of God (5:1) in forgiving and loving as Christ loved us when He gave up His life on the altar of the Cross so that those who belong to Him might live eternally in His presence. It is a sacrifice of love that He also asks of us when, in the Eucharistic procession, we come forward to offer up our lives as a sacrifice to Him and to receive His life, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Eucharist.

Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.
St. Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that, at the Last Supper, our Savior instituted the Eucharist to perpetuate the sacrifice of His Body and Blood on the Cross throughout the centuries until He returns in glory (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 47).  That the celebration of the Eucharist is a true sacrifice is also affirmed in the Eucharistic prayers from Mass. For example, when the priest prays to God the Father, saying, “We offer to You, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice: the bread of life and the cup of eternal salvation … Almighty God, we pray that Your angel may take this sacrifice to Your altar in Heaven” (Eucharistic Prayer I).

The “fragrant aroma” in verse 5:2 recalls how the Old Testament represents sacrifices as “food” or a “pleasing aroma” for Yahweh (Gen 8:21; Ex 29:18; Lev 1:9; Num 28:2). However, the covenant people understood that an omnificent God did not need earthly nourishment or the pleasing smell of sacrifices (Ps 50:12-14; Sir 35:6-7/5-9). However, it was the “spiritual food” of the self-surrender of the covenant people that pleased God: For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased.  The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise (Ps 51:16-17 RSV; also see 1 Sam 15:22-23). God’s desire was for the quality of the sacrifice to unite to the righteousness of the offeror requesting forgiveness for his sins and restoration of fellowship with God.

In the Old Covenant of Sinai, as in the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, God deserves the sacrifice of personal surrender and not the empty ritual of the material gift of the offeror. A sacrifice offered without prayer and the genuine contrition of a repentant heart is like a body offered without a soul; it is an empty and soulless gesture not worthy of a holy God. In the sacrifice of Christ in the Eucharist, we surrender our lives to Christ, and in turn, God gives us the life of God the Son to nourish us spiritually on our journey to God’s holy mountain in Heaven.

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.


Jesus, the Living Bread

In the Gospel reading, Jesus used the symbolism of bread that was the “staff of life” for the people of His time. He revealed that we need His glorified, resurrected flesh and blood as the “food” that nourishes and sustains us on our journey through life (Jn 6:54) as He testified, saying, “I AM the bread of life” (Jn 6:35).

Jesus promised that a person who possessed His glorified life would not die the death of alienation from God. Therefore, we can have confidence in what Jesus promised when He said: “I am the living bread that came down from Heaven … whoever eats this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51). The “living bread” is Christ’s gift to us in the New Covenant sacred meal of the Eucharist that replaced the Old Covenant sacred meal of the Toda (Lev 6:15, 19b-20; Lk 22:20). Thus, the Old Covenant communion meal of the Toda that reestablished peace with God foreshadowed the supernatural gift of Christ in the New Covenant sacred meal of the Eucharist (from the Greek word eucharistia, meaning “thanksgiving”).


Our passage is from the beginning of Jesus’s Bread of Life Discourse (Jn 6:22-65) that contains the promise of the reality of the life of Christ in the Eucharist. He addressed the Jewish crowd the day after He miraculously fed the more than five thousand men, and the crowd has finally found Him again coming out of the Synagogue at Capernaum. They want Him to make another miracle.  Since His feeding miracle the day before recalled for them the miracle feeding of the manna in the time of Moses, they asked Jesus to make the same miracle again and bring down bread from Heaven like Moses. Jesus responded by correcting them and saying that it was not Moses who made the miracle but God. Then, He told them that He is the true bread that came down from Heaven and He has the power to give eternal life (Jn 6:22-40). The crowd responds negatively to His claim because they know about Jesus’s earthly origins. They know His family, and what Jesus told the crowd disturbs them, especially the statement “I am the bread that has come down from heaven” that is a declaration of His divine origin.

43 Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop murmuring among yourselves.  44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.  45 It is written in the prophets: ‘They shall all be taught by God.’  Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.  46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except the one who is from God; he has seen the Father.  47 Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
In their murmuring, they are behaving like their ancestors during the Exodus liberation by complaining and limiting what they believed God can do on their behalf (see Ex 16:2, 17:2-3; Num 11:1; 14:27; and 1 Cor 10:10).

Jesus continued to claim His divinity when He quoted Isaiah 54:13, where the prophet described the promised “new Jerusalem” in the Messianic Era: All your children will be taught by Yahweh and great will be your children’s prosperity (Is 54:13 NJB)In verse 14, Isaiah’s prophecy continued with the promise: In saving justice you will be made free from oppression. The Isaiah passage continued in 55:1 with the invitation, Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty, which is the promise of the Sacrament of Baptism.  Then, Jesus declared in John 7:37, quoting Isaiah 55:2, that promised: Listen carefully to me(repeating John 6:45), and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy. Pay attention, come to me; listen and you will live” is the promise of the Sacrament of Eucharist (see Jn 6:42, 48) and eternal life (see Jn 6:44 & 47).

48 I am the bread of life.  49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; 50 this is the bread that comes down from Heaven so that one may eat it and not die.  51 I am the living bread that came down from Heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

Verse 48 is the second statement Jesus made identifying Himself as the “Bread of Life” (see verse 35). The giving of Christ’s flesh in sacrifice for the life of the world connects the Incarnation, “the Word made flesh” (Jn 1:14), with the Eucharist. Since its earliest years, the Church recognized John 6:51 as a true Eucharistic formula. Both the Old Latin and the Syriac liturgies contain verse 51: This bread that I will give is my body for the life of the world (Navarre Commentary, page 105)

Notice the future tense in verse 51: the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.  The future tense in verse 51 points to Jesus’s sacrifice on the altar of the Cross and to the miracle of the Eucharist, where His sacrifice becomes present for every generation, beginning at the Last Supper. Jesus is the true bread not only because He is God’s Word but also because He is the spotless victim whose flesh and blood is offered in sacrifice for the life of the world, as announced by St. John the Baptist: Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29).  Ever since man’s fall from grace, God established blood sacrifices for the atonement of sin. The animal offered in sacrifice died in place of the sinner as a substitute:

  • For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you for performing the rite of expiation on the altar of your lives, for blood is what expiates for a life (Lev 17:11 NJB).
  • Thus not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood.  When every commandment had been proclaimed by Moses to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, together with water and crimson will and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined upon you.” […]. According to the law, almost everything is purified by blood, and without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness [remission of sins] (Heb 9:18-22).

Jesus promised a new covenant meal that is literally and not symbolically His flesh and blood. The idea of a mystical, sacred meal was not foreign to believers of the Old Covenant. In the Temple in Jerusalem, the blood of the sacrificed animal was poured out on the altar. Then the animal was skinned, and either its whole body or only the fat burned on the altar as a gift to God.  However, except for the individual or festival whole burnt offerings and the twice-daily Tamid communal sacrifice in the worship services, the priests ate the sin sacrifices. And during the festivals, the people ate sacred meals like the Passover victim, or the Toda (“Thanksgiving”) communion offering at the Temple in a sacred meal of praise that reestablished peace with God (Lev 7:11-15; Num 15:8-10).

In the Old Covenant, the sprinkling of the blood on the altar of sacrifice was symbolic of justification (being made “just” or “right” with God), and the burning of the flesh of the animal was symbolic of sanctification (consecration to God in holiness). Therefore, eating the sacrifice symbolized a redeemed covenant people in a mystical union with Yahweh. Every part of the Old Covenant sacrificial system prefigured Christ’s sacrifice and the sanctification and redemption of humanity. Pope Benedict XVI (the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger), in his book, Feast of Faith, wrote about the connection between the sacred meal offered by Christ of Himself in the Holy Eucharist and the communion Toda (“thanksgiving” in Hebrew and expressed as “eucharistia” in the Greek Old Testament translation) of the Old Covenant sacrificial system.

In the Toda communion peace offering, a man or woman who had experienced some form of providential deliverance offered Yahweh a sacrifice in thanksgiving and ate it in a sacred meal within the Temple along with his family and other members of the covenant family.  The Toda offering was not only a bloody sacrifice of flesh but also the unbloody offering of unleavened bread and wine consumed with the sacred meal in the presence of God.  Pope Benedict XVI wrote that the New Covenant Lord’s Supper becomes the Toda of Christ. He also pointed out it was a Rabbinic tradition that, when the Messiah came, all sacrifices would end except the Toda/Todah: “The Todah of Jesus vindicates the rabbinic dictum: ‘In the coming (Messianic) time, all sacrifices will cease except the Todah Sacrifice. This will never cease in all eternity.  All (religious) songs will cease too, but the songs of Todah will never cease in all eternity'” (Feast of Faith page 58; also see Levine, JPS Torah Commentary: Leviticus, page 43; also see Jesus and the Mystery of the Tamid SacrificeChapter X.

All animal sacrifices ended with the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple in AD 70. But the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, offered on the altar of the Cross once and for all time, is present in the New Covenant Toda/“thanksgiving” sacred meal of the Eucharist. It is a true sacrifice continually represented as an unbloody offering of Christ for the forgiveness of sin and the sanctification of the covenant people in a sacred meal on the altars of every Catholic Church.  But for that sacrifice to be effective, the Lamb of God must still be eaten, not just by the priests but by every faithful New Covenant believer because they have all been called by our High Priest, Jesus Christ, into a royal priesthood of believers. St. Peter wrote: But you are a chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession (1 Pt 2:9; also see 1 Pt 2:5; Rev 1:6; 5:1-10, and CCC#1546).  The New Covenant requires that we must eat the sacrifice in a sacred meal to reestablish peace with God. At the Last Supper, Jesus commanded us to “do this” (Lk 22:19-20; 1 Cor 11:23-25) to receive His promise of eternal life, as He said in the Bread of Life Discourse: whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). In our New Covenant Toda of the Eucharist, Jesus gives us food for our journey so that we can reach our goal of eternity on God’s holy mountain in the heavenly Kingdom that He has promised us.

Excerpts from Michal E. Hunt’s Agape Bible Study.  Material slightly reformatted. Used with permission.

19th Sunday of Year B


The Ways of an Infinite God

Job 38:8
“Who decreed the boundaries of the seas when they gushed from the depths? Who clothed them with clouds and thick darkness

New Living Translation (Hover cursor above the scripture reference to read the NRSV version)

JOB 38:2–39:30 God used a series of questions to illustrate how little Job knew about creation and God’s ways. If Job knew nothing of these mysteries, how could he know anything about God’s character? All Job could do was worship and trust God.

We, too, wonder why we suffer. We wonder why bad things happen to us and those we love. But like Job, we are finite and cannot understand the ways of our infinite God. All we can do is praise him and await his deliverance.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Care of Responsible Shepherds

Jeremiah 23:4
Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the LORD, have spoken!

JER 23:1-4 Shepherds—the leaders of God’s people—who were supposed to care for God’s “sheep” had scattered and forsaken them. Since Judah’s leaders had led God’s people astray, God promised to punish the leaders and gather his people “back to their own sheepfold.” He vowed to place them in the care of responsible shepherds who would love and tend them. Jesus is our good shepherd, loving us and tending us as his flock (see John 10:1-18).

If we are willing to seek out and follow his will for our life, there is hope for us, no matter how far we may have strayed.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Self Doubt

1 Kings 19:5
Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. But as he was sleeping, an angel touched him and told him, “Get up and eat!”

1 Kings 19:5-18 Self-doubt is common to all of us. Elijah doubted himself when he was on the run from Jezebel. God dealt with Elijah in a loving, patient manner by reassuring him that he was not alone. Reassurance and rest are a solid prescription for someone afflicted with self-doubt. We need to build a community of support to help us through the difficult times of recovery. Without the help of others, it will be impossible for us to succeed.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

Conforming to God’s Will

Ephesians 4:31
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.

Ephesians 4:31-32 A life of recovery is committed to knowing God better through prayer and meditation on his Word. In examining our life, we realize just how demanding God’s standards for righteous living are, but since it is God’s grace that helps us conform to his will, we need not despair. As we obey him, he will teach us to live without bitterness, anger, or harsh words. God is in the business of healing our relationships. When we do things his way, we are well on the way to reconciling with our alienated friends and building solid foundations for recovery.

SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.

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The People Question Jesus

They are getting caught up in the same great christological controversies that will later captivate the early church

GOSPEL: Most of the time, grumbling is the result of a reality that fails to match our expectations. When events unfold that fall short of our hopes, and when we can locate a person or situation to blame, we complain. It is natural to draw parallels between the people in this passage and the Israelites who complained in the wilderness, whom Jesus references in his response. In both cases, people had targeted the person who they felt was to blame for their hunger; so they unleashed their complaints.

However, in this case, the people are questioning Jesus not only out of hunger, but out of confusion. They are struggling to reconcile the messenger with his message. They cannot come to terms with the fact that this Jesus, who is uttering profound words of wisdom, is the very same Jesus they have known since his childhood. In a sense, they are getting caught up in the same great christological controversies that will later captivate the early church: how can this Jesus be both human and divine?

SOURCE: EXCERPT taken from FEASTING ON THE GOSPELS—JOHN. All rights reserved.

The Issues of Life

Until we allow our faith to change us in everything, we are just pretending to be followers of Christ.

Ephesians 4:17-32 –

The number of Christians in Africa continues to grow, yet we might question the impact all these Christians are having in our nations. Many Christians are Christian in name only. They attend church services and identify themselves as Christians, but they have not allowed their faith to influence the way they live each day. When we know Christ, it is evident by our honesty, generosity, helpful speech, and willingness to forgive people because Jesus has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32).

Paul instructed the Ephesians to put on a new nature given by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:24). Are we still practicing the old “Gentile ways”? Are we continuing to lie (Ephesians 4:25)? Are we letting anger control us (Ephesians 4:26-27)? Do we steal (Ephesians 4:28)? How about our use of foul or abusive language (Ephesians 4:29)? Paul wants the gospel to impact more than just our weekly church attendance. Until we allow our faith to change us in everything, we are just pretending to be followers of Christ. If we want our communities and nations to be transformed, we must allow Christ to transform us first.


My Flesh for the World

The contrast with all physical bread, particularly the manna given their fathers in the wilderness, is sharply drawn.


John 6:48–51 – Again Jesus makes that simple, unequivocal assertion, “I am the bread of life.” The contrast with all physical bread, particularly the manna given their fathers in the wilderness, is sharply drawn. That bread, Jesus says, they ate and are dead. But Jesus is “the bread” which comes down from heaven. His coming is once for all. The Incarnation will not be repeated! Yet He continues to come. Whoever “eats of this bread” will not die. He states it negatively at first, contrasting it with the physical bread. Then, as is so often done in this Gospel, it is stated positively, “He will live forever.”

But how do we eat this bread? For even eating physical bread is a mystery and a gift of grace. On a few rare occasions I have been overwhelmed watching desperately hungry people gulping down a few scraps of bread, far more precious than pieces of gold.

In verse 51 Jesus makes an even more offensive claim. The bread these Jews are invited to eat is His flesh, which He shall give for the life of the world. “Flesh” to their ears is a lowly, vulgar word. How can the life of God be given through flesh “which in its appearance is contemptible”?4 And yet it is precisely here, in this Man of flesh, that God, in His surprising mercy, has set life before us. That which has been despised as the “material of death” God has chosen to make the vehicle of redemption. For Jesus offers both His life of perfect obedience and His death on the Cross in the flesh. Here is where we discover and receive life.

SOURCE: Excerpt taken from THe Preacher’s Commentary, Complete 35-Volume Set: Genesis–Revelation offers pastors, teachers, and Bible study leaders clear and compelling insights into the entire Bible that will equip them to understand, apply, and teach the truth in God’s Word.

God Gives Elijah Special Strength

Focus on God’s power and wisdom to help you deal with the cause of your stress.

1 Kings 19:3ff Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement just after his two great spiritual victories: the defeat of the prophets of Baal and the answered prayer for rain. Often discouragement sets in after great spiritual experiences, especially those requiring physical effort or involving great emotion. To lead him out of depression, God first let Elijah rest and eat. Then God confronted him with the need to return to his mission—to speak God’s words in Israel. Elijah’s battles were not over; he still had work to do. When you feel let down after a great spiritual experience, remember that God’s purpose for your life is not yet over.

1 Kings 19:8 When Elijah fled to Mount Horeb, he was returning to the sacred place where God had met Moses and had given his laws to the people. Obviously, God gave Elijah special strength to travel this great distance—over 200 miles—without additional food. Like Moses before him and Jesus after him, Elijah fasted for 40 days and 40 nights (Deuteronomy 9:9; Matthew 4:1, 2). Centuries later, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus would meet together on a mountaintop (Luke 9:28–36).


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19th Sunday of Year B

JOHN 6:41-46

41. The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

42. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

43. Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

44. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

46. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.


Third Century

  • Origen – Alexandrian biblical critic, exegete, theologian, and spiritual writer; analyzed the Scriptures on three levels: the literal, the moral, and the allegorical
  • Cyprian – pagan rhetorician converted to Christianity; acquired acquired a profound knowledge of the Scriptures and the writings of Tertullian; elected bishop of Carthage; martyred in 258

Fourth Century

  • Eusebius – Bishop of Caesarea; author of Ecclesiastical History, the principal source for the history of Christianity from the Apostolic Age till his own day; also wrote a valuable work on Biblical topography called the Onomasticon
  • Athanasius – Bishop of Alexandria; attended the Council of Nicea; opposed Arianism, in defence of the faith proclaimed at Nicaea—that is, the true deity of God the Son
  • Hilary – Bishop of Poitiers; the earliest known writer of hymns in the Western Church; defended the cause of orthodoxy against Arianism; became the leading Latin theologian of his age
  • Gregory of Nazianzus – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; a great influence in restoring the Nicene faith and leading to its final establishment at the Council of Constantinople in 381
  • Gregory of Nyssa – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Nyssa; took part in the Council of Constantinople
  • Ambrose – Bishop of Milan; partly responsible for the conversion of Augustine; author of Latin hymns; it was through his influence that hymns became an integral part of the liturgy of the Western Church
  • Jerome – biblical scholar; devoted to a life of asceticism and study; his greatest achievement was his translation of the Bible into Latin (the Vulgate); also wrote many biblical commentaries
  • Nemesius – Christian philosopher; Bishop of Emesa in Syria
  • Augustine – Bishop of Hippo (in northern Africa); a “Doctor of the Church”; most famous work is his Confessions; his influence on the course of subsequent theology has been immense
  • Chrysostom – Bishop of Constantinople; a “Doctor of the Church”; a gifted orator; his sermons on Gen, Ps, Isa, Matt, John, Acts, and the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews) established him as the greatest of Christian expositors
  • Prosper of Aquitaine – theologian; supporter of Augustinian doctrines; closely associated with Pope Leo I (“the Great”)
  • Damasus – pope; active in suppressing heresy
  • Apollinaris of Laodicea – Bishop of Laodicea; close friend of Athanasias; vigorous advocate of orthodoxy against the Arians
  • Amphilochius of Iconium – Bishop of Iconium; close friend of the Cappadocian Fathers; defended the full Divinity of the Holy Spirit

Fifth Century

  • Asterius of Amasea – Arian theologian; some extant homilies on the Psalms attributed to him
  • Evagrius Ponticus – spiritual writer; noted preacher at Constantinople; spent the last third of his life living a monastic life in the desert
  • Isidore of Pelusium – an ascetic and exegete; his extant correspondence contains much of doctrinal, exegetical, and moral interest
  • Cyril of Alexandria – Patriarch of Alexandria; contested Nestorius; put into systematic form the classical Greek doctrines of the Trinity and of the Person of Christ
  • Maximus of Turin – Bishop of Turin; over 100 of his sermons survive
  • Cassion (prob. Cassian) – one of the great leaders of Eastern Christian monasticism; founded two monasteries near Marseilles; best known books the Institutes and the Conferences
  • Chrysologus – Bishop of Ravenna; a “Doctor of the Church”
  • Basil “the Great” – one of the “Cappadocian Fathers”; Bishop of Caesarea; responsible for the Arian controversy’s being put to rest at the Council of Constantinople
  • Theodotus of Ancyra – Bishop of Ancyra; wrote against the teaching of Nestorius
  • Leo the Great – Pope who significantly consolidated the influence of the Roman see; a “Doctor of the Church”; his legates defended Christological orthodoxy at the Council of Chalcedon
  • Gennadius – Patriarch of Constantinople; the author of many commentaries, notably on Genesis, Daniel, and the Pauline Epistles
  • Victor of Antioch – presbyter of Antioch; commentator and collector of earlier exegetical writings
  • Council of Ephesus – declared the teachings of Nestorious heretical, affirming instead the unity between Christ’s human and divine natures
  • Nilus – Bishop of Ancyra; disciple of St John Chrysostom; founder of a monastery; conducted a large correspondence influencing his contemporaries; his writings deal mainly with ascetic and moral subjects

Sixth Century

  • Dionysius Areopagita (aka Dionysius the Pseudo-Areopagite) – mystical theologian; combined Neoplatonism with Christianity; the aim of all his works is the union of the whole created order with God
  • Gregory the Great – Pope; a “Doctor of the Church”; very prolific writer of works on practical theology, pastoral life, expositions of Job, sermons on the Gospels, etc.
  • Isidore – Bishop of Seville; a “Doctor of the Church”; concerned with monastic discipline, clerical education, liturgical uniformity, conversion of the Jews; helped secure Western acceptance of Filioque clause
  • Eutychius (Patriarch of Constan­tinople) – consecrated the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople; defended the Chalcedonian faith against an unorthodox sect; became controversial later in life
  • Isaac (Bp. of Nineveh) (aka Isaac the Syrian) – monastic writer on ascetic subjects
  • Severus (Bp. of Antioch) – Syrian Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch; the leading theologian of the moderate Monophysites
  • John Climacus – ascetic and writer on the spiritual life; later Abbot of Mt. Sinai; best known for his Ladder of Divine Ascent which treats of the monastic virtues and vices
  • Fulgentius – Bishop of Ruspe in N. Africa; scholarly disposition; follower of St. Augustine; wrote many treatises against Arianism and Pelagianism

Seventh Century

  • Maximus ( of Constantinople, 645.) – Greek theologian; prolific writer on doctrinal, ascetical, exegetical, and liturgical subjects

Eighth Century

  • Bede (131CESK) – “the Venerable Bede”; a “Doctor of the Church”; pedagogue, biblical exegete, hagiographer, and historian, the most influential scholar from Anglo-Saxon England
  • John Damascene – Greek theologian; a “Doctor of the Church”; defender of images in the Iconoclastic Controversy; expounded the doctrine of the perichoresis (circumincession) of the Persons of the Trinity
  • Alcuin – Abbot of St. Martin’s (Tours); a major contributor to the Carolingian Renaissance; supervised the production of several complete editions of the Bible; responsible for full acceptance of the Vulgate in the West

Ninth Century

  • Haymo (of Halberstadt) – German Benedictine monk who became bishop of Halberstadt; prolific writer
  • Photius (of Constantinople) – Patriarch of Constantinople; a scholar of wide interests and encyclopedic knowledge; his most important work, Bibliotheca, is a description of several hundred books (many now lost), with analyses and extracts; also wrote a Lexicon
  • Rabanus Maurus – Abbot of Fulda in Hess Nassau; later Archbishop of Mainz; wrote commentaries on nearly every Book of the Bible
  • Remigius (of Auxerre) monk, scholar, and teacher
  • Paschasius Radbertus – Carolingian theologian; wrote commentaries on Lamentations and Matthew, as well as the first doctrinal monograph on the Eucharist, he maintained the real Presence of Christ

Eleventh Century

  • Theophylact – Byzantine exegete; his principal work, a series of commentaries on several OT books and on the whole of the NT except Revelation, is marked by lucidity of thought and expression and closely follows the scriptural text
  • Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury; a “Doctor of the Church”; highly regarded teacher and spiritual director; famous ontological argument for the existence of God as “that than which nothing greater can be thought”
  • Petrus Alphonsus – Jewish Spanish writer and astronomer, a convert to Christianity; one of the most important figures in anti-Judaic polemics
  • Laufranc (prob. Lanfranc) – Archbishop of Canterbury; commented on the Psalms and Pauline Epistles; his biblical commentary passed into the Glossa Ordinaria


CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlvi. 1) The Jews, so long as they thought to get food for their carnal eating, had no misgivings; but when this hope was taken away, then, we read, the Jews murmured at Him because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. This was only a pretence. The real cause of their complaint was that they were disappointed in their expectation of a bodily feast. As yet however they reverenced Him, for His miracle; and only expressed their discontent by murmurs. What these were we read next: And they said, Is not this Jesus, the Son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that He saith, I came down from heaven?

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. 1) But they were far from being fit for that heavenly bread, and did not hunger for it. For they had not that hunger of the inner man.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlvi. 1) It is evident that they did not yet know of His miraculous birth: for they call Him the Son of Joseph. Nor are they blamed for this. Our Lord does not reply, I am not the Son of Joseph: for the miracle of His birth would have overpowered them. And if the birth according to the flesh were above their belief, how much more that higher and ineffable birth.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi) He took man’s flesh upon Him, but not after the manner of men; for, His Father being in heaven, He chose a mother upon earth, and was born of her without a father. The answer to the murmurers next follows: Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves; as if to say, I know why ye hunger not after this bread, and so cannot understand it, and do not seek it: No man can come to Me except the Father who hath sent Me draw him. This is the doctrine of grace: none cometh, except he be drawn. But whom the Father draws, and whom not, and why He draws one, and not another, presume not to decide, if thou wouldest avoid falling into error. Take the doctrine as it is given thee: and, if thou art not drawn, pray that thou mayest be.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlvi. 1) But here the Manichees attack us, asserting that nothing is in our own power. Our Lord’s words however do not destroy our free agency, but only shew that we need Divine assistance. For He is speaking not of one who comes without the concurrence of his own will, but one who has many hindrances in the way of his coming.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. 2. et sq.) Now if we are drawn to Christ without our own will, we believe without our own will; the will is not exercised, but compulsion is applied. But, though a man can enter the Church involuntarily, he cannot believe other than voluntarily; for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness. Therefore if he who is drawn, comes without his will, he does not believe; if he does not believe, he does not come. For we do not come to Christ, by running, or walking, but by believing, not by the motion of the body, but the will of the mind. Thou art drawn by thy will. But what is it to be drawn by the will? Delight thou in the Lord, and He will give thee thy heart’s desire. (Ps. 36) There is a certain craving of the heart, to which that heavenly bread is pleasant. If the Poet could say, “Trahit sua quemque voluptas,” how much more strongly may we speak of a man being drawn to Christ, i. e. being delighted with truth, happiness, justice, eternal life, all which is Christ? Have the bodily senses their pleasures, and has not the soul hers? Give me one who loves, who longs, who burns, who sighs for the source of his being and his eternal home; and he will know what I mean. But why did He say, Except my Father draw him? If we are to be drawn, let us be drawn by Him to whom His love saith, Draw me, we will run after Thee. (Cant. 1:4) But let us see what is meant by it. The Father draws to the Son those who believe on the Son, as thinking that He has God for His Father. For the Father begat the Son equal to Himself; and whoso thinks and believes really and seriously that He on Whom He believes is equal to the Father, him the Father draws to the Son. Arius believed Him to be a creature; the Father drew not him. Thomas says, Christ is only a man. Because he so believes, the Father draws him not. He drew Peter who said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (Mat. 16); to whom accordingly it was told, For flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven. That revelation is the drawing. For if earthly objects, when put before us, draw us; how much more shall Christ, when revealed by the Father? For what doth the soul more long after than truth? But here men hunger, there they will be filled. Wherefore He adds, And I will raise him up at the last day: as if He said, He shall be filled with that, for which he now thirsts, at the resurrection of the dead; for I will raise him up.

AUGUSTINE. (de Qu. Nov. et Vet.) Or the Father draws to the Son, by the works which He did by Him.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlvi. 1) Great indeed is the Son’s dignity; the Father draws men, and the Son raises them up. This is no division of works, but an equality of power. He then shews the way in which the Father draws. It is written in the Prophets, And they shall all be taught of God. You see the excellence of faith; that it cannot be learnt from men, or by the teaching of man, but only from God Himself. The Master sits, dispensing His truth to all, pouring out His doctrine to all. But if all are to be taught of God, how is it that some believe not? Because all here only means the generality, or, all that have the will.

AUGUSTINE. (de Prædest. Sanctorum, c. viii) Or thus; When a schoolmaster is the only one in a town, we say loosely, This man teaches all here to read; not that all learn of him, but that he teaches all who do learn. And in the same way we say that God teaches all men to come to Christ: not that all do come, but that no one comes in any other way.

AUGUSTINE. (super Joan. Tr. xxv. 7) All the men of that kingdom shall be taught of God; they shall hear nothing from men: for, though in this world what they hear with the outward ear is from men, yet what they understand is given them from within; from within is light and revelation. I force certain sounds into your ears, but unless He is within to reveal their meaning, how, O ye Jews, can ye acknowledge Me, ye whom the Father hath not taught?

BEDE. He uses the plural, In the Prophets, because all the Prophets being filled with one and the same spirit, their prophecies, though different, all tended to the same end; and with whatever any one of them says, all the rest agree; as with the prophecy of Joel, All shall be taught of God. (Joel 2:23)

GLOSS. These words are not found in Joel, but something like them; Be glad then ye children of Sion, and rejoice in the Lord your God, for He hath given you a Teacher. (Quia dedit nobis lectorem justitiæ. Vulg.) And more expressly in Isaiah, And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord. (Isa. 54:13)

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlvi. 1) An important distinction. All men before learnt the things of God through men; now they learn them through the Only Son of God, and the Holy Spirit.

AUGUSTINE. (de Prædest. Sanctorum, c. viii. et seq.) All that are taught of God come to the Son, because they have heard and learnt from the Father of the Son: wherefore He proceeds, Every man that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh to Me. But if every one that hath heard and learnt of the Father cometh, every one that hath not heard of the Father hath not learnt. For beyond the reach of the bodily senses is this school, in which the Father is heard, and men taught to come to the Son. Here we have not to do with the carnal ear, but the ear of the heart; for here is the Son Himself, the Word by which the Father teacheth, and together with Him the Holy Spirit: the operations of the three Persons being inseparable from each other. This is attributed however principally to the Father, because from Him proceeds the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Therefore the grace which the Divine bounty imparts in secret to men’s hearts, is rejected by none from hardness of heart: seeing it is given in the first instance, in order to take away hard-heartedness. Why then does He not teach all to come to Christ? Because those whom He teaches, He teaches in mercy; and those whom He teaches not, He teaches not in judgment. But if we say, that those, whom He teaches not, wish to learn, we shall be answered, Why then is it said, Wilt thou not turn again, and quicken us? (Ps. 84:6) If God does not make willing minds out of unwilling, why prayeth the Church, according to our Lord’s command, for her persecutors? For no one can say, I believed, and therefore He called me: rather the preventing mercy of God called him, that he might believe.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. 7. et seq.) Behold then how the Father draweth; not by laying a necessity on man, but by teaching the truth. To draw, belongeth to God: Every one that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh to Me. What then? Hath Christ taught nothing? Not so. What if men saw not the Father teaching, but saw the Son. So then the Father taught, the Son spoke. As I teach you by My word, so the Father teaches by His Word. But He Himself explains the matter, if we read on: Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father; as if He said, Do not when I tell you, Every man that hath heard and learnt of the Father, say to yourselves, We have never seen the Father, and how then can we have learnt from Him? Hear Him then in Me. I know the Father, and am from Him, just as a word is from him who speaks it; i. e. not the mere passing sound, but that which remaineth with the speaker, and draweth the hearer.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlvi. s. 1) We are all from God. That which belongs peculiarly and principally to the Son, He omits the mention of, as being unsuitable to the weakness of His hearers.

JOHN 6:47-51

47. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

48. I am that bread of life.

49. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

50. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.

51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever.


AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. s. 10.) Our Lord wishes to reveal what He is; Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me, hath everlasting life. As if He said; He that believeth on Me hath Me: but what is it to have Me? It is to have eternal life: for the Word which was in the beginning with God is life eternal, and the life was the light of men. Life underwent death, that life might kill death.

CHRYSOSTOM. ([Nic.] Theoph.) The multitude being urgent for bodily food, and reminding Him of that which was given to their fathers, He tells them that the manna was only a type of that spiritual food which was now to be tasted in reality, I am that bread of life.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlv. 1) He calls Himself the bread of life, because He constitutes one life, both present, and to come.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. 11) And because they had taunted Him with the manna, He adds, Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. Your fathers they are, for ye are like them; murmuring sons of murmuring fathers. For in nothing did that people offend God more, than by their murmurs against Him. And therefore are they dead, because what they saw they believed, what they did not see they believed not, nor understood.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlvi. 2) The addition, In the wilderness, is not put in without meaning, but to remind them how short a time the manna lasted; only till the entrance into the land of promise. And because the bread which Christ gave seemed inferior to the manna, in that the latter had come down from heaven, while the former was of this world, He adds, This is the bread which cometh down from heaven.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. s. 12) This was the bread the manna typified, this was the bread the altar typified. Both the one and the other were sacraments, differing in symbol, alike in the thing signified. Hear the Apostle, They did all eat the same spiritual meat. (1 Cor. 10)

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. xlvi. 2) He then gives them a strong reason for believing that they were given for higher privileges than their fathers. Their fathers eat manna and were dead; whereas of this bread He says, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. The difference of the two is evident from the difference of their ends. By bread here is meant wholesome doctrine, and faith in Him, or His body: for these are the preservatives of the soul.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. 11) But are we, who eat the bread that cometh down from heaven, relieved from death? From visible and carnal death, the death of the body, we are not: we shall die, even as they died. But from spiritual death which their fathers suffered, we are delivered. Moses and many acceptable of God, eat the manna, and died not, because they understood that visible food in a spiritual sense, spiritually tasted it, and were spiritually filled with it. And we too at this day receive the visible food; but the Sacrament is one thing, the virtue of the Sacrament another. Many a one receiveth from the Altar, and perisheth in receiving; eating and drinking his own damnation, (1 Cor. 11:29) as saith the Apostle. To eat then the heavenly bread spiritually, is to bring to the Altar an innocent mind. Sins, though they be daily, are not deadly. Before you go to the Altar, attend to the prayer you repeat: Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. (Matt. 6:12) If thou forgivest, thou art forgiven: approach confidently; it is bread, not poison. None then that eateth of this bread, shall die. But we speak of the virtue of the Sacrament, not the visible Sacrament itself; of the inward, not of the outward eater.

ALCUIN. Therefore I say, He that eateth this bread, dieth not: I am the living bread which came down from heaven.

THEOPHYLACT. (in v. 83) By becoming incarnate, He was not then first man, and afterwards assumed Divinity, as Nestorius fables.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. 13) was The manna too came down from heaven; but the manna was shadow, this is substance.

ALCUIN. But men must be quickened by my life: If any man eat of this bread, he shall live, not only now by faith and righteousness, but for ever.

JOHN 6:51

51. —And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.


AUGUSTINE. (Gloss. Nic.) Our Lord pronounces Himself to be bread, not only in respect of that Divinity, which feeds all things, but also in respect of that human nature, which was assumed by the Word of God: And the bread, He says, that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

BEDE. This bread our Lord then gave, when He delivered to His disciple the mystery of His Body and Blood, and offered Himself to God the Father on the altar of the cross. For the life of the world, i. e. not for the elements, but for mankind, who are called the world.

THEOPHYLACT. Which I shall give: this shews His power; for it shews that He was not crucified as a servant, in subjection to the Father, but of his own accord; for though He is said to have been given up by the Father, yet He delivered Himself up also. And observe, the bread which is taken by us in the mysteries, is not only the sign of Christ’s flesh, but is itself the very flesh of Christ; for He does not say, The bread which I will give, is the sign of My flesh, but, is My flesh. The bread is by a mystical benediction conveyed in unutterable words, and by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, transmuted into the flesh of Christ. But why see we not the flesh? Because, if the flesh were seen, it would revolt us to such a degree, that we should be unable to partake of it. And therefore in condescension to our infirmity, the mystical food is given to us under an appearance suitable to our minds. He gave His flesh for the life of the world, in that, by dying, He destroyed death. By the life of the world too, I understand the resurrection; our Lord’s death having brought about the resurrection of the whole human race. It may mean too the sanctified, beatified, spiritual life; for though all have not attained to this life, yet our Lord gave Himself for the world, and, as far as lies in Him, the whole world is sanctified.

AUGUSTINE. (Tr. xxvi. 13) But when does flesh receive the bread which He calls His flesh? The faithful know and receive the Body of Christ, if they labour to be the body of Christ. And they become the body of Christ, if they study to live by the Spirit of Christ: for that which lives by the Spirit of Christ, is the body of Christ. This bread the Apostle sets forth, where he says, We being many are one body. (1 Cor. 12:12) O sacrament of mercy, O sign of unity, O bond of love! Whoso wishes to live, let him draw nigh, believe, be incorporated, that he may be quickened.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000 Commentary in public domain.

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