18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Opening sentence and Prayer:
From the days when the Jewish people wandered in the desert to this very day, God has been food to the hungry and meaning to those who lose their way. Today we rejoice in our Lord’s loving-kindness.
Gracious Lord, giver of everlasting life, satisfy our hunger through Christ, the bread of life, and quench our thirst with Your gift of faith, that we may no longer work for food that perishes, but believe in the One whom You have sent. We ask this 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.
A Reading from the Old Testament: Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15 (NLT)
[On their way to the Promised Land, the Jews wondered whether the Lord had abandoned them. But God heard, and fed them with quails in the evening and manna every morning.]
There, too, the whole community of Israel complained about Moses and Aaron.
“If only the Lord had killed us back in Egypt,” they moaned. “There we sat around pots filled with meat and ate all the bread we wanted. But now you have brought us into this wilderness to starve us all to death.”
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructions.
“I have heard the Israelites’ complaints. Now tell them, ‘In the evening you will have meat to eat, and in the morning you will have all the bread you want. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
That evening vast numbers of quail flew in and covered the camp. And the next morning the area around the camp was wet with dew. When the dew evaporated, a flaky substance as fine as frost blanketed the ground. The Israelites were puzzled when they saw it. “What is it?” they asked each other. They had no idea what it was.
And Moses told them, “It is the food the Lord has given you to eat.”
A Reading from the Psalms: Psalm 78:3-4, 23-25, 54 (NLT)
I will teach you hidden lessons from our past — stories we have heard and known, stories our ancestors handed down to us. We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders.
He commanded the skies to open; he opened the doors of heaven. He rained down manna for them to eat; he gave them bread from heaven. They ate the food of angels! God gave them all they could hold.
He brought them to the border of his holy land, to this land of hills he had won for them.
A Reading from the Letters: Ephesians 4:17, 20-24 (NLT)
[Paul tells the people of Ephesus to put aside their old ways and live a new life.]
With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused.
But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
A Reading from the Gospels: John 6:24-35 (NLT)
[Jesus urges those he fed to reflect on their hunger and to work for food that will last for ever: the Bread of Life.]
So when the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went across to Capernaum to look for him. They found him on the other side of the lake and asked, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”
They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”
Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”
They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”
Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
Bread of the Angels is made bread for mankind; Gifted bread of Heaven of all imaginings the end; Oh, thing miraculous! This body of God will nourish the poor, the servile, and the humble.
Thee Triune God, we beseech; Do us Thou visit, just as Thee we worship. By Thy ways, lead us where we are heading, to the light Thou dwellest in. Amen.
Faithful God: You always provide for us in our needs. Hear us now:
+ For all who walk in the way of Christ - that You may sustain our faith and hope…. Lord, hear us.
+ For women and men who search for meaning and purpose in their lives – that they may find their answers in Jesus…. Lord, hear us.
+ For nomads and travelers, and all who wander like the Jews in the desert – that You may provide for their needs and support them in dangerous moments…. Lord, hear us.
+ For those who live in hunger – that You may send them food, through our generous hands…. Lord, hear us.
+ For all those whose Christian journey is over – that eternal life may be theirs…. Lord, hear us.
O God, You have never failed to nourish Your people in their needs: hear our cries and grant our prayers, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
There is no greater truth than this / There is no stronger love we know / God Himself comes down to live / And make a sinner’s heart his throne
There is no deeper peace than this / No other kindness can compare / He clothes us in His righteousness / Forever free, forever heirs
Oh praise the only One / Who shines brighter than ten thousand suns / Death and hell call Him victorious / Praise Him / Oh praise the One true King / Lift it loud till earth and heaven ring / Every crown we lay down at His feet / Praise Him
There is no sweeter joy than this / There is no stronger hope we hold / We are His forever more / Safe, secure by Christ alone
There is no sound that’s like the song / That rises up from grateful saints / We once were lost but now we’re found / One with Him, we bear His name
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen