St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania


Readings and Reflections for the 11th Sunday after Pentecost

Exodus 16:2-4,9-15
Psalm 78:23-29
Ephesians 4:1-16
John 6:24-35

In the reading from Exodus we hear the story of the people of Israel complaining in the wilderness after the escape from Egypt. They demand of Moses to know how they will get food and water in this place.  God responds to their complaint by providing meat by day and the manna bread by night.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus is declared as the Bread of Life.  He is aware of our need for physical bread, having fed the hungry crowd with bread.  But now we hear him describe bread in another way – not the kind of bread that temporarily meets our physical needs, but the “bread” that never stops satisfying our deepest hunger and thirst.  One “eats” of this bread by coming into God’s life by depending on Jesus and following him.

Paul encourages the Ephesians to lead a life worthy of their call in Christ.  Noting that the Spirit of God is given to all members of Christ for the building up of the community, he calls on them to exercise these gifts and ministries for the good of all. He also warns them not to be shifting about with the changing fashions and opinions being expressed by the people and culture around them, but to be mature and grounded in Christ.

Comment: God provides freedom and food to the people of Israel; Jesus feeds the crowds and invites them to a deeper satisfaction and purpose; Paul notes how God’s Spirit is so generously poured out upon the church as gifts for one another.  Yet how easily we can complain, feel empty, and go about looking for something to “fill us up” or bring “happiness.”  I am encouraged by these scriptures to remember, and renew myself, in the call of Christ to be doing the work of God.  What is that work? To allow God’s Spirit to activate gifts in me that are for others.  How blessed we are, each believer, to be part of this desire of God to touch our world, our communities, our neighbors, thorough such ordinary people as you and me!