Reflection: Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Monday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Ex.16:2-4,12-15; Ps.77; 2nd Reading – Eph.4:17,20-24; Gospel – Jn.6:24-35]


Quite often, we meet people in the Gospels who are actively “looking for Jesus” and today, once again, we come across people with that same yearning for Him. In fact, the people were so eager to find Jesus that they even took boats to look for Him and when they found Him, they were keen to know of His movements. But Jesus took them one step further and gave them the reason why they were following him. He stated that they were following Him because He gave them all the bread that they wanted to eat. Jesus had already performed signs that showed who He really was but for some reason the people neither recognised Him nor understood the signs that He was performing. They were following Him because they asked for something and they received it: a cold relationship that one can even create with an inanimate object where one action is the direct result or consequence of another action. Jesus took this opportunity to start his teachings and said that if they have to work for something, then this should be something that lasts forever and not something that is perishable. Jesus talked about food. He did not say that they were not to ask for food – for during the prayer that he taught them (i.e. the Our Father) He himself asked for the “Daily Bread” – but if they do so, they should also ask for the food that endures forever. He specifically mentioned everlasting food, the food that the Son of Man was offering, food which He Himself received from the Father – and this food is “FAITH”.

When the people inquired about this food and asked Jesus again for this bread to eat, Jesus answered them that if they want to have this “everlasting food” they had to believe in Him as the one sent by the Father. At least, believe in Him as a Prophet because even the Prophets of the Old Testament were sent by God! The people asked for a sign (indicating that they have not understood anything) and also mentioned the manna in the dessert (thus misplacing the subject entirely). Jesus told them that it was not Moses but the Father who gave them this manna/bread from heaven – which perished – and He (the Father) was still doing so by sending his Son – as the food which was to remain forever – to those who believed.

Then, for the third time, they asked Jesus for this bread. This time they totally misplaced the “infinite” part of “everlasting bread” and they asked to be given this bread “always” (in this world)! At this point, Jesus told them directly that He was the Bread of Life and that those who went to Him (because they believed in Him) will never be hungry or thirsty (spiritually) because He will be their sustenance. This must be the reason why the people should yearn for Jesus.

What about us? Why are we following Christ? What is motivating us to look for Him? What compels us to do that something special (like getting into a boat…) just to be with Him? Do we recognise Him in the signs that still take place today? Will we, for example, recognise Him in today’s breaking of the bread?

Lord, sometimes we find ourselves praying to You because we are in need of something or we turn to You because something unexpected comes our way which changes all our expectations. Sometimes we pray because when we did so the last time, we managed to gain what we asked for but then when we do not gain what we ask for we sulk, we ignore you and complain that you do not listen to us. Help us always Lord, to see the true You.  Thank You Lord!”



Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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