Wednesday of the Third Week of Easter

Lectionary: 275

I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.

The consumer spirituality which has overwhelmed western religions eats up passages like this. People describing themselves as “hungry” shop around among the churches in their cities, looking to be fed. They abandon any church which fails to meet their needs, which fails to feed them.

American churches, in response, try to prepare a package that can meet those needs. The best formula for retaining customer loyalty, I have heard, is good preaching and good music. Other highly desirable commodities are fellowship, support groups, bible study and financial advice. If they offer matchmaking, youth ministries and babysitting during the services, all the better!

Is it any wonder that zombies have broken out of the horror genre and now stalk sitcoms and romances? These Christian consumers are the living dead; they bring nothing but their insatiable hunger. Mention money and they march out. Solicit sacrifice and they scurry to their coffins.

Jesus’ invitation, “…whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” was not directed at consumers.

Periodically, during the Evening Prayer of our Liturgy of the Hours, we pray:

R. Father of all holiness, you gave us Christ as the shepherd of our souls; stay with your shepherds and the flock entrusted to them, do not leave the flock without the loving care of its shepherd;
V. do not leave the shepherds without an obedient flock to follow them.

To accept the invitation of Christ I must bring more than my hunger; I also have energy, willingness, courage, time, ability and resources. If I would be fed by the Lord I offer everything to him.

I joined a group called Emotions Anonymous in 1983 and attended for about ten years. I remember the decision as it came to me, during a dark January in Minnesota. I joined the group because I needed what they had to offer – direction, guidance, support, understanding, empathy, etc. – but I knew that I had something of my own to offer. Even as I pondered that opportunity and saw the radiance of grace around it, I realized that I was energetic and articulate. I could care about someone besides myself.

Jesus is willing to sit with us at table and expects us to sit with him. He is willing to give his own body to eat and his blood to drink; he only asks as much of us.

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I love to write. This blog helps me to meditate on the Word of God, and I hope to make some contribution to our contemplations of God's Mighty Works.

Ordinarily, I write these reflections two or three weeks in advance of their publication. I do not intend to comment on current events.

I understand many people prefer gender-neutral references to "God." I don't disagree with them but find that language impersonal, unappealing and tasteless. When I refer to "God" I think of the One whom Jesus called "Abba" and "Father", and I would not attempt to improve on Jesus' language.

You're welcome to add a thought or raise a question.