Daily Archives: August 13, 2006

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

All about nourishment today. All about the Eucharist.

In the first reading, Elijah says enough is enough. He sits beneath a tree and prays for death. Then he lies down and sleeps. An angel awakens him and gives him food and drink and sends him on his way.

The response in the Responsorial Psalm is Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. More nourishment, although oddly, that line seems to come from the Lectionary, whereas the NAB has as Learn to savor how good the Lord is. (Just for completion’s sake, I’ll add here that the King James has it O taste and see that the LORD is good.)

The Gospel is from St. John. You can tell right away since it starts with a jarring The Jews murmured about Jesus … (St. John was writing for non-Jews, is why his Gospel is so un-PC, is my understanding.) But anyway, Christ tells us about spiritual nourishment:

I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
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.

Interestingly, Elijah in fact did not die. In 2 Kings he flies up to heaven in a whirlwind. Apparently some think he will return, and that’ll signal the end times. Yikes. But he’s an interesting one, that Elijah. I know mostly nothing about him. But remember last week when he appeared with Christ and Moses, and Peter thought each of them should get a tent. He’s evidently a big deal, this Elijah.

(More things I don’t know are broom trees and hearth cakes, Elijah falling asleep under a broom tree and the angel giving him a hearth cake to eat. I imagine a tree made up of old-fashioned brooms all sticking up where branches would be. The OED tells me that it’s the other way around, that brooms originally were made from twigs from the broom tree tied together, whence the broom gets its name. And a hearth cake isn’t a cake made out of a hearth; it’s a cake baked on a hearth. Duh, Ed.)

St. Paul has other things on his mind, and once again seems to speak to qualities that I’ve been unfortunately lacking lately. [B]e kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, he tells us. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling
must be removed from you, along with all malice

And here I’ve been so bitter and unforgiving so very recently.

Lord, help me to act according to your will, to leave my smallness and petty-mindedness behind.