August 12, 2018
by Amy Hoover
Creighton University's Retreat Center
click here for photo and information about the writer

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 116

1 Kings 19:4-8
Psalms 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Ephesians 4:30—5:2
John 6:41-51
Praying Ordinary Time

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

An Even Better Marriage

As I prayed and reflected with today’s readings I felt resistance.  It took me several days to realize that my resistance was that I didn’t want to reflect on and share about the bread of life referring to Eucharist.  This was preventing me from entering fully into prayer.  I assumed I knew where my prayer was going to lead.  When I was finally able to let go of this presumption a list of questions surfaced.

How is Jesus offering himself to us for nourishment?
How is Jesus inviting us to be nourished?
How does God sustain us?
How does the Father draw us to him?
How do we listen to the Father?
How are we taught by God?

In some sense, all these questions ask the same thing, How are we in relationship with God?  The other thing I noticed was that all the questions speak of God/Jesus initiating the action.  The Divine reaching out to us.

In the Old Testament reading today, Elijah, in anguish, is praying for death.  Instead, God reaches out to Elijah through an angel, offers him cake and water and encourages him to eat and live and continue his journey.  I experience this often at the retreat center where I live.  Sometimes when I am down, feeling lonely or afraid, I have to stop and take a moment to look outside or take a walk and hear the wind in the trees or notice the beauty of nature and I can feel the presence of the Divine “feeding” my spirit, encouraging me, reminding me I am not alone.   God is reaching out.  We just need to take time to notice.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is telling us “I am the bread of life.”  I will sustain you.  We do experience this with the Eucharist but today, I hear the invitation to notice all the other ways God sustains us.  Angels, companions, trees and water, scripture, art and music, beauty.  God is always and everywhere reaching out to us, sustaining, nourishing, teaching and drawing us near. 

The Divine is reaching out to us, nourishing us, companioning us, filling us with Love.  Today, I hear the invitation to pause and notice the many ways this happens.  And then, a last question occurred to me, How will we respond? And, thus the relationship grows.

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