Curated preaching illustrations and anecdotes from Fr. Tony Kadavil. NEW! Now with videos; Also includes Fr. Tony’s commentary, and Children illustrations/object sermons.
19th Sunday of Year B
BEHIND THE SCIENCE FICTION (1:30) – The film was shot in and around St. Petersburg, Florida: locations included the St Petersburg Shuffleboard Club, Sunny Shores Rest Home, The Coliseum, and Snell Arcade buildings. The film earned two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Don Ameche) and for Best Visual Effects.
INSATIABLE THIRST FOR ETERNAL LIFE
Cocoon is a 1985 American science fiction fantasy comedy drama film directed by Ron Howard about a group of elderly people rejuvenated by aliens.( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoon_(film). In the movie Cocoon, a group of senior citizens experienced a return to their youth when they bathed in a swimming pool used by aliens from another planet. Their exciting experience prompted them to accept an invitation from the aliens to go back with them to their planet. The senior citizens were told that once they reached the alien planet, they would live forever.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises a fountain of eternal life claiming that those who eat the Bread from Heaven will live forever. Mark Link in ‘Sunday Homilies.’
STARVING TO DEATH DURING PLENTY
DRIVE THRU HISTORY (1:43) – The winter of 1609 was a starving time and only 60 of the original Jamestown settlers survived. That June, they decided to bury cannon and armor and abandon the town. However, the arrival of the new governor Baron De La Warr and his supply ships helped turn things around. The colony was reborn, but the suffering at Jamestown reoccurred for decades.
During the winter of 1610, the population of British immigrants to Jamestown, in the U.S. (the Pilgrims) went from about 500 people to about 60. While disease and American Indians took some lives, most of the settlers simply starved. There were plentiful supplies of fish, oysters, frogs, fowl, and deer all around them. But these settlers from the city were not accustomed to obtaining food from the land. Hence, they starved! [Cullen, Joseph P. “James’ Towne,” American History Illustrated (October 1972).]
We sometimes act the same way. God comes to us continually in the Person of the Holy Spirit to guide us. As a loving Father, God awaits the opportunity to meet our needs, but we are accustomed to meet our own needs, not to receive things from His loving hand. In today’s Gospel, Jesus promises to give us spiritual Food, but we must prepare and choose receive the Heavenly Bread.
CLOTHED IN HUMAN FLESH
Next to the Bible, my favorite book is Harper Lee’s award-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird. I love both the book and the movie. The main character, the one who tells the story, is a little girl named Jean Louise Finch, who goes by the name of Scout. Her father, Atticus Finch, is the town’s lawyer and a man of deep principles and integrity. I always wanted to grow up and be like Atticus Finch. One day, Scout came home from school and told her father about some problems she was having with the teacher and several other students. In an effort to help her get along better with others, Atticus gave her this advice: “First of all, if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
That’s exactly what Jesus did. Clothed in human flesh, Jesus felt pain as we feel pain. He suffered as we suffer. He even experienced death. Jesus climbed into our skin and walked around in it.
(Billy D. Strayhorn, Beyond Skin Deep)
AL AND BARBARA’S BANANA-NUT BREAD
During Operation Desert Storm, Al and Barbara Davis, a retired Virginia couple, read that soldier in the field weren’t getting enough potassium and protein. One problem was that banana, an excellent source of potassium, spoiled before they could get to the soldiers. So Al and Barbara had an idea: why not make banana-nut bread and send it to the soldiers overseas? Their bread-making operation became a daily task: they made 100 loaves every morning, which they mailed to soldiers in the Middle East. Since 1991 when they first began their bread-baking, Al and Barbara Davis have made and mailed over 35,000 loaves of bread to U.S. troops.
I thought of Al and Barbara when I read these words of Jesus. “This is the Bread that came down from Heaven . . .” When planes land in the Middle East carrying Al and Barbara’s banana-nut bread, it must have seemed like manna from Heaven to the soldiers there.
View More Homily Starter Anecdotes compiled by Fr. Tony
19th Sunday of Year B
THE HUNGER FOR SPIRITUAL SUSTENANCE
We are living in a world where people of all races and creeds hunger more for spiritual sustenance than for physical food. In response to the spiritual hunger of people in his own day, Jesus, in today’s Gospel passage from John 6, proclaims Himself to be “the Bread of Life that came down from Heaven.” It is through Jesus, the Bread of Life, that we have access to the Divine life during our earthly pilgrimage to God. The sixth chapter of the Gospel of John which contains Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist begins with Jesus’ miraculous feeding of five thousand hungry listeners in a deserted place to satisfy their bodily hunger.
Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ discourse in the synagogue at Capernaum a day after miraculously feeding five thousand in the wilderness. During the discourse, Jesus reveals that he is the true “Bread of Life that came down from Heaven,” to give life to the world. “Manna” was God’s gift rained down “from Heaven” upon the Chosen People; Jesus, however, is the new and perfect manna as the Incarnate Son of God, literally “come down from Heaven.” This means that the Bread we consume in the Eucharist is more than just a guarantee that one day we’ll have eternal life. This Bread actually gives us a share of that eternal life while we are still on earth. But some of those who had just witnessed Jesus’ ability to supply them with earthly food turned away when Jesus identified His Heavenly Origin as the Divine Source of His miraculous powers.
The first reading describes the physical and spiritual hungers experienced by the prophet Elijah. In this reading, the Bread of Life Jesus speaks about is prefigured by the miraculous food with which the angel nourished the Prophet Elijah in the desert to which he had fled from the soldiers Queen Jezebel had sent to kill him. After being nourished by the Lord, Elijah was strengthened for the long journey of “forty days and forty nights” to Mount Horeb [Mt. Sinai], the place where God had given Moses the Ten Commandments.
In today’s Responsorial Psalm (Ps 34) Refrain, the Holy Spirit has us sing, “Taste, and see the Goodness of the Lord,” the Goodness the Psalm verses themselves spell out. The second reading presents Christ Jesus, the “Bread of Life,” as a “sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.”
In the Second Reading, Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that, instead of seeking satisfaction in anger, slander, bitterness and malice, they are to nourish one another with compassion, kindness and mutual forgiveness. It is Faith that strengthens us to live in this way, doing the right thing in our relationships with others, in a world filled with terror and violence and in a Church marked by betrayal and disillusionment.