18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)
August 01, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.





Draw near to your servants, O Lord,
and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness,
that, for those who glory in you as their Creator and guide,
you may restore what you have created
and keep safe what you have restored.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Ex. 16:2-4,12-15

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.  The Israelites said to them, "Would that we had died at the LORD's hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!  But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!" Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not. "I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God." In the evening quail came up and covered the camp. In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground. On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, "What is this?" for they did not know what it was.  But Moses told them, "This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat."

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

R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.

What we have heard and know,
and what our fathers have declared to us,
We will declare to the generation to come
the glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength
and the wonders that he wrought.

He commanded the skies above
and opened the doors of heaven;
he rained manna upon them for food
and gave them heavenly bread..

Man ate the bread of angels,
food he sent them in abundance.
And he brought them to his holy land,
to the mountains his right hand had won.

Second Reading Eph 4:17,20-24

Brothers and sisters: I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life,
corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God's way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Alleluia Mt 4:4b


Gospel Jn 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.  And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
"Rabbi, when did you get here?"  Jesus answered them and said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal."

So they said to him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent."

So they said to him, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?  What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat." So Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."

So they said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always."  Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst."

Reflection Questions

  1. Are you grumbling at God these days?
  2. How have you learned Christ?
  3. What can you do to accomplish the works of God?

Catena Nova

Wishing to persuade Christ to perform the kind of miracle that would provide them with bodily nourishment, the people in their insatiable greed called to mind the manna.  This bread, being the Son of the living Father, is life by its very nature, and accordingly gives life to all. What was the reply of our Lord Jesus, the infinite wisdom of God? “It was not Moses who gave you bread.”  In other words, “Moses did not give you the true bread. On the contrary, everything that happened in his time was a prefiguration of what is happening now.  “Moses represented God, the real leader of the spiritual Israelites, while that bread typified myself, who have come down from heaven and who am the true bread which gives genuine nourishment.”  Our Lord refers to himself as the true bread not because the manna was something illusory, but because it was only a type and a shadow, and not the reality it signified. This bread, being the Son of the living Father, is life by its very nature, and accordingly gives life to all. Just as earthly bread sustains the frail substance of the flesh and prevents it from falling into decay, so Christ quickens the soul through the power of the Spirit, and also preserves even the body for immortality. Through Christ resurrection from the dead and bodily immortality have been gratuitously bestowed upon the human race (Theophylact).

God, Whose nature is goodness, Whose substance is love and Whose whole life is benevolence – sent His own Son into the world, the bread of angels, “because of the great love he had for us” (Eph 2,4), because He wanted to show us the meekness of His nature and the affection He has for His children. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son” (Jn 3,16). This is the real bread that the Lord sent from heaven so that we may eat it…; this is what God, in His goodness, has prepared for the poor (Ps 67,9s). For Christ, who came down from heaven for all people and to the level of each one, attracts everything to Himself through His inexpressible goodness; He does not reject anybody and He receives all who wish to repent. He gives all those who receive Him, the most delicious taste. He is the only one who can fulfill all our desires… and, He adapts Himself in different ways, to one and the other, according to the tendencies, the desires and the appetites of each one… Everyone finds in Him a different taste…. This bread has a sweet taste because it delivers one from all worries, it heals sicknesses, it eases trials, it assists one’s efforts and strengthens one’s hopes…Those who have tasted it hunger for it, those who hunger, will be satisfied (Baldwin of Canterbury).

Pierce, O most sweet Lord Jesus,
my inmost soul with the most joyous
and healthful wound of Your love,
and with true, calm and most holy apostolic charity,
that my soul may ever languish and melt
with entire love and longing for You,
may yearn for You and for Your courts,
may long to be dissolved and to be with You.
Grant that my soul may hunger after You,
the Bread of Angels, the refreshment of holy souls,
our daily and supersubstantial bread,
having all sweetness and savour
and every delightful taste.
May my heart ever hunger after and feed upon You,
Whom the angels desire to look upon,
and may my inmost soul
be filled with the sweetness of Your savour;
may it ever thirst for You,
the fountain of life,
the fountain of widsom and knowledge,
the fountain of eternal light,
the torrent of pleasure,
the fulness of the house of God;
may it ever compass You,
seek You, find You, run to You,
come up to You, meditate on You, speak of You
and do all for the praise and glory of Your name,
with humility and discretion,
with love and delight,
with ease and affection,
with perseverence to the end
and be You alone ever my hope,
my entire confidence, my riches, my delight,
my pleasure, my joy, my rest and tranquility,
my peace, my sweetness, my food, my refreshment,
my refuge, my help, my wisdom, my portion,
my possession, my treasure;
in Whom may my mind and my heart
be ever fixed and firm and rooted immovably.
Amen (St. Bonaventure).

It is Your will that we proclaim Your Death
in the eating of the Bread of Life.
What more could You give to us,
who deserve to die through the eating
of the forbidden fruit,
than life through the eating of the Bread?
O Food of Life, nailed to the Cross,
who can grasp the bountiful gift
which You offer – the gift of Your very self as food?
Here is generosity beyond all measure,
when the Giver and Gift, are one and the same.
O Food, which truly nourishes and satisfies,
not our flesh but our soul,
not our body but our spirit.
O Memorial, worthy to be cherished
in our inmost soul,
to be deeply engraved on our mind
and, lovingly preserved in the tabernacle of our heart.
Its remembrance is a joy forever
and a cause for tears that well up
from a heart filled with overpowering joy.
Amen (Nicholas of Cusa).

The process of Jesus attempting to lead his hearers beyond scandal is shown in John 6. There Jesus attempts to bring his hearers on from their understanding of his miraculous feeding of the five thousand, an understanding rooted in food and a kingly messiah, towards his own subversion of the Passover and the Manna in the desert as pointing to himself as the authentic bread from heaven. During the discourse, the eager listening of his audience is gradually turned into furious questioning, linked by allusion with the murmuring of Israel against Moses on its way to the Promised Land. Finally even many of his disciples find it hard to take, and Jesus asks them if this scandalizes them (Jn 6:61). The scandal is what prevents people perceiving the unity of Jesus and the Father (v 62), and for John the flesh is precisely the human condition locked in scandal, while the spirit is what leads people beyond scandal into a belief in Jesus as revealing the Father, and the Father as he who sent Jesus into the world (vv 63-65). Many of the disciples are caused to stumble, but Peter and the other eleven stay, having perceived that Jesus has words of eternal life: that is, they have overcome the scandal, at least to some extent (James Alison).

In reflecting on the journey through the desert, Moses in Deuteronomy says that God humbled the people to teach them—and us—that we do not live by bread alone. (Deut. 8:3) So often we think that our needs are biological and if we can fill them we’ll be just fine. But somehow the daily bread we pray for every day is not quite enough. Actually, the Greek word epiousion usually translated as “daily” means something quite different. Literally it means super-substantial which is a philosophical mouthful. To add to the puzzle, no other use of the word has been found, not even among Greek philosophers.... Obscure as the Greek word’s meaning is, the one thing that is moderately clear is that it suggests that physical daily bread that is enough to live on biologically is not enough and we need more. In this respect it could be a brief commentary on the just-quoted verse from Deuteronomy.... In John, when Jesus says that he himself is the bread, he is clearly taking them to a meaning that would bring home the truth that humanity does not live by bread alone. If they really come to him, they will have enough: they will never hunger again.... In Ephesians, Paul says that the life Jesus gives us consists of humility, gentleness, patience, and bearing with each other in love. We are to be one Body in Christ, the same body that we consume in the Eucharist. Being twisted to and fro and being blown about by every wind of doctrine is a powerful way of illustrating what it is like to be caught in the insatiable desire to have what everybody else wants and to have more of it. In contrast, the Body of Christ is solid, anchored.... That is, in Christ’s Body we all have enough because we are always feeding one another at all levels of our being as we build each other up in love. Sounds like life to me. Let’s try it (Abbot Andrew Marr).

In the Gospel, a crowd had gathered around Jesus. They had just seen the multiplication of the loaves; it was one of those events that remained etched in the mind and heart of the first community of disciples. There had been a party: a feast that showed God’s superabundant generosity and concern for his children, who became brothers and sisters in the sharing of bread. Let us imagine for a moment that crowd. Something had changed. For a few moments, those thirsting and silent people who followed Jesus in search of a word were able to touch with their hands and feel in their bodies the miracle of a fraternity capable of satisfying superabundantly. The Lord came to give life to the world. He always does so in a way that defies the narrowness of our calculations, the mediocrity of our expectations and the superficiality of our rationalizations. A way that questions our viewpoints and our certainties, while inviting us to move to a new horizon enabling us to view reality in a different way. He is the living Bread come down from heaven, who tells us: “Whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst”. All those people discovered that hunger for bread has other names too: hunger for God, hunger for fraternity, hunger for encounter and a shared feast. We have become accustomed to eating the stale bread of disinformation and ending up as prisoners of dishonour, labels and ignominy. We thought that conformism would satisfy our thirst, yet we ended up drinking only indifference and insensitivity. We fed ourselves on dreams of splendour and grandeur, and ended up consuming distraction, insularity and solitude. We gorged ourselves on networking, and lost the taste of fraternity. We looked for quick and safe results, only to find ourselves overwhelmed by impatience and anxiety. Prisoners of a virtual reality, we lost the taste and flavour of the truly real. Let us not be afraid to say it clearly: Lord, we are hungry. We are hungry, Lord, for the bread of your word, which can open up our insularity and our solitude. We are hungry, Lord, for an experience of fraternity in which indifference, dishonour and ignominy will not fill our tables or take pride of place in our homes. We are hungry, Lord, for encounters where your word can raise hope, awaken tenderness and sensitize the heart by opening paths of transformation and conversion. We are hungry, Lord, to experience, like that crowd, the multiplication of your mercy, which can break down our stereotypes and communicate the Father’s compassion for each person, especially those for whom no one cares: the forgotten or despised. Let us not be afraid to say it clearly: we are hungry for bread, Lord: the bread of your word, the bread of fraternity (Pope Francis).



            Much like the Hebrews in the desert who grumbled against Moses and Aaron over their lack of food, so have Catholics grown accustomed to much quarreling over the true bread from heaven (G) they eat in the Eucharist.  And the “liturgy wars” have rarely been in fuller swing than in these days since Pope Francis set restrictions on the celebration of the pre-1962 liturgy.  Among the more vocal combatants are the views found on the blog New Liturgical Movement, founded and edited by Shawn Tribe -- a main outlet for what has, putatively, been called “the reform of the reform.”

            I say “putatively” because my impression has always been that “reform” here means putting everything back the way it was before the Second Vatican Council albeit with renewed fervor and devotion.  And while there has been chatter, mostly idle, about a “mutual enrichment” of the preconciliar and postconciliar liturgies, I have long felt this has been a one-way street where the latter is “enriched” by the former and few if any concessions are accorded the latter -- as if the current version of the Roman Missal contains little but derogation and betrayal of “tradition.”

            Then there’s the foil to New Liturgical Movement, the blog called Pray Tell: Worship, Wit and Wisdom, whose mission statement says it promotes the ongoing renewal of the liturgy and its transformative effect in the life of the Church and the world.”  Itsliturgical sympathies are in line with the Collegeville Benedictines, longtime purveyors of scholarly publications and resources for implementing the Council’s vision.

            By the way, I happen to believe mutual enrichment between what was termed the “Ordinary” and “Extraordinary” forms of the Roman rite is entirely possible and even desirable. A thorough approach to such a project would, in my opinion, follow many of the suggestions made by liturgical scholar László Dobszay in The Restoration and Organic Development of the Roman Rite (2010) who desired to see a single, unified Roman rite take its cue from the classic form while making considerable allowance for variation in the guise of local uses, customs and options. If ever such a project were to be implemented, it would probably take several more editions of the Roman Missal and other liturgical books to evolve. 

             The editor of Pray Tell, Anthony Ruff OSB, seems to agree who notes how, “It will take time – not days, but perhaps generations – for the Catholic Church to find her way to greater liturgical unity and to the most appropriate way of reaching out to those who have had difficulties accepting the liturgical reforms. If there is to be unity, it will require patience and forbearance on all sides.”

            Perhaps both sides of the divide should acknowledge that their hunger might just be fed by something unexpected like the manna and quails did for the ancient Hebrews in their own desert.It might also be a good idea to listen once again to the pioneers of the liturgical movement – those who like Moses took note of the grumbling of many people about the limitations of the former liturgy and sought to answer the hunger of many people for a more palatable liturgy.  Such voices  – many no longer known or appreciated for their seminal work – like Prosper Guéranger, Ildefonso Schuster, Odo Casel, Gregfory Dix, Pius Parsch, Aemiliana Löhr and Virgil Michel deserve a new hearing from both camps.  I find them often to have a far better and more profound grasp of the deeper issues surrounding the liturgy than many of the discordant voices who seem mostly interested in “technique.”  So allow me to resurrect one such a voice, that of Romano Guardini, from the heady days of the liturgical movement prior to the Council:

The Church has not built up the “Opus Dei” [i.e. the “Work of God” as St. Benedict called it] for the pleasure of forming beautiful symbols, choice language, and graceful, stately gestures, but she has done it—in so far as it is not completely devoted to the worship of God—for the sake of our desperate spiritual need. It is to give expression to the events of the Christian’s inner life: the assimilation, through the Holy Ghost, of the life of the creature to the life of God in Christ; the actual and genuine rebirth of the creature into a new existence; the development and nourishment of this life, its stretching forth from God in the Blessed Sacrament and the means of grace, towards God in prayer and sacrifice; and all this in the continual mystic renewal of Christ’s life in the course of the ecclesiastical year. The fulfillment of all these processes by the set forms of language, gesture, and instruments, their revelation, teaching, accomplishment and acceptance by the faithful, together constitute the liturgy. We see, then, that it is primarily concerned with reality, with the approach of a real creature to a real God, and with the profoundly real and serious matter of redemption. There is here no question of creating beauty, but of finding salvation for sin-stricken humanity. Here truth is at stake, and the fate of the soul, and real—yes, ultimately the only real—life. All this it is which must be revealed, expressed, sought after, found, and imparted by every possible means and method; and when this is accomplished, lo! it is turned into beauty.


Intercessions (Peter Scagnelli; Prayers for Sundays and Seasons)

To the good and gracious God who gives us the bread from heaven, let us join in heartfelt prayer on behalf of the needs of all.

That the church, on its pilgrimage to the land of promise, may never doubt God’s providence but draw strength from the bread of life.

That all Christians, clothed in God’s likeness, may find unity in the bread from heaven that God has given them to eat.

That in a world where so many are afflicted by hunger, nations may set aside differences and assume responsibility for each other.

That those for whom life has become a journey through the wilderness may experience God’s abiding care in the loving concern of God’s servants.

That all who put aside their former way of life may be renewed in mind and spirit, in true righteousness and holiness.

That we who share the bread from heaven in our worship may be inspired to provide daily bread for those who are in need.

That by our commitment to community projects on behalf of the needy we may bear the witness of God’s love to all who look for signs of hope.

That we may never become lost in pursuit of food that perishes but learn from our worship to cherish the gifts that endure.

That we who feed on the bread of heaven may do the work of God by believing in Christ and by living Christ’s gospel.

That the departed who believed in Jesus in this life may never be hungry or thirsty again.      

Lord, giver of lasting life, satisfy our hunger through Christ, the bread of life, and quench our thirst with your gift of belief, that we may no longer work for food that perishes, but believe in the One whom you have sent. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen (ICEL; 1998).  

Interlude (Taize’)


Jesus Christ, bread of life, those who come to you will not hunger.

Jesus Christ, risen Lord, those who trust in you will not thirst.

Lord’s Prayer

Let us ask of God our daily bread as Jesus taught...

Spiritual Communion

Lord, you alone can satisfy the hungers of the human heart, even when we fail to realize you are the Bread of life.  We are unable today to be nourished by your Sacrament, but you can fill us nevertheless with the grace of your presence through the gift of the Spirit.  Renew then the life of grace within us and may you soon answer our hope to have this Bread always.



You gave us bread from heaven, O Lord, having in it all that is delicious, and the sweetness of every taste.  V/. 1.  Give ear, my people, to my teaching; * incline your ear to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in a parable * and utter hidden lessons of the past. 2. The things we have heard and understood, * the things our fathers have told us, these we will not hide from their children * but will tell them to the next generation: the glories of the Lord and his might, * and the marvelous deeds he has done. 3. Yet he commanded the clouds above, * and opened the gates of heaven. He rained down manna to eat, * and gave them bread from heaven. 4. Theyate the bread of angels. * he sent them abundance of food; he rained flesh upon them like dust, *what they craved, he gave them.

Closing Hymn (Bernadette Farrell)


Bread for the world:
a world of hunger.
Wine for all peoples:
people who thirst.
May we who eat
be bread for others.
May we who drink
pour out our love.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you are the bread of life,
broken to reach
and heal the wounds
of human pain.
Where we divide your people,
you are waiting there
on bended knee
to wash our feet with endless care.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you are the wine of peace,
poured into hearts once broken
and where dryness sleeps.
Where we are tired and weary,
you are waiting there
to be the way which beckons us
beyond despair.

Lord Jesus Christ,
you call us to your feast,
at which the rich and pow'rful
have become the least.
Where we survive on others
in our human greed,
you walk among us
begging for your ev'ry need.