Tenth Sunday after Pentecost (Year B)
Scripture Readings*: 2 Samuel 11:26-12:13a, Psalm 51:1-13, Ephesians 4:1-16, John 6:24-35
2 Samuel 11:26 – 12:13a
“But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord…” (11:27). Though David sought to cover his sins, God reveals his sins through the prophet Nathan’s story of how the rich man takes advantage by requiring the poor man’s pet lamb. David’s transgressions were no longer secret.
The lesson for each of us is: Even our best effort to cover our sins – though it may work for a while – will eventually prove to be ineffective, because God ultimately will expose them, so that He can forgive them.
Having been united by their faith in Christ, believers should desire to prove themselves worthy of their new condition. They should be at peace with each other (4:1–3), remembering all that they have in common (4:4–6).
When Christ ascended to heaven, he distributed a wealth of spiritual gifts to his followers (4:7–11) to enable them to minister together as his body on earth and to bring each believer to spiritual maturity (4:12–16).
Since Jesus fed the 5,000 from just a little bread and fish, crowds hounded him. They were drawn by the promise of food and the prospect of miracles. Jesus tries to explain that the bread is merely a sign. The ‘true bread from heaven’ is the eternal life that God gives.
Years before, God had given the Israelites manna from heaven. It was a daily miracle, but the food didn’t last and the people eventually died. Now Jesus declares, ‘I am the bread of life’ (6:35). Those who believe in him will never be spiritually hungry and will have eternal life.
Eat Your Fill
Someone wise once said that building spiritual muscle and physical muscle have a lot in common: How well you do depends on which appetite you feed. It takes discipline to eat the vegetables and skip the fried foods. It requires self-control to pick up the fruit and put down the chocolate. When we enjoy too many cookies and not enough carrots, it shows.
Likewise, it takes humility and the strength of the Holy Spirit working in us to embrace the disciplines of prayer, meditation, and God-centered focus. It’s often tempting to fill up on the “spiritual junk food” that feeds instant gratification and self-centered desires. But when we do, we lose the spiritual stamina necessary to run – and win – the race.
In today’s readings, we see in David’s choices the results of feeding only physical desires. Death. Destruction. Separation from God. What a contrast to Jesus’s words! Jesus is our bread of life. When we eat his body and drink his blood – when we feast on him in our hearts – we find strength for this life and the life to come.
Prayer for Tenth Sunday after Pentecost – Ever living God, in your mercy, help me love what is good, feasting on your Word so I may proclaim your goodness; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B