18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B – Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

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18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year B – Fr. Isaac A. Mensah

First Reading: Exodus 16:2-4, 12-15
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54
Second Reading: Ephesians 4:17, 20-24
Gospel: John 6:24-35

Theme: Motivation in Life: “Rabbi, when did you get there?


People don’t just act but they’re motivated to do so. Motivation is therefore the process that initiates, guides and maintains goal-oriented behaviours. In every day usage, the term “motivation” is frequently used to describe why a person does something. It is the driving force behind human actions. Our readings of today really underscore what motivates us as Christians.

Explanation of the text

Our first reading recounts the experience of the Israelites on the desert when they raised their voices against Moses and God because they were hungry. In fact the behaviour of the people of Israel reminds us of the saying: “An hungry man is an angry man. The people were so angry that they spoke against God by preferring Egypt to their current situation. They quickly forgot how good and gracious He has been to them and that He separated the Red Sea and defeated their enemies to save them. The people of Israel were motivated by the lack of bread for them to speak against God. However, God demonstrated to them that He is the great provider by raining manna from heaven to feed them.

Our gospel reading of today is the continuation of the last week’s gospel. Those who had received the free meal had come the seven-mile journey along the north lip of the Sea of Galilee looking for Jesus there. Because they knew Jesus hadn’t gotten into the boat with the other disciples, they asked, “Rabbi, when did you get there?”

The reply of Jesus shows the intention nay motivation of the people’s search of him. They are there to look for him because they ate and were full. They had come looking for free meal and a divine handout. They were seeking for Jesus as a means to address their material hungers and needs. This isn’t evil in itself, because He Jesus himself would teach us to pray: “Give us today our daily bread.”

Many of us come to Jesus not just with wants but real material needs, not knowing how we are going to pay the rent, or put food on the table, purchase the medications they need, to find a job to help support those they love. God wants to hear these prayers. And it wasn’t this that Jesus criticized. For Jesus then the multiplication of the bread should have been a motivation for the people to seek for something more than material needs. It is for this reason that He says, “Do not work for the food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life which the Son of Man will give you”.

An important lesson for us today is that when we pay too much attention to material things, we forfeit the spiritual meaning of life. So our relationship with God and others must not be based solely on how much material things we can get from them. But unfortunately at times we act like the Israelites by murmuring against God. They preferred food and slavery to freedom and like Esau, they were ready to sell their birthright for a plate of porridge ( Gen 23, 29-34).

Many of us have sold our conscience for material needs in life. We have forgotten that “man shall not live by bread alone but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” ( Matt 4:4). Jesus will again say that “his food is to do the will of the one who sent him”(John 4:34). The preoccupation and the motivation of a Christian is the Word of God and the Will of God. Remember to seek ye first the kingdom of God and it’s righteousness and everything including bread will be given to you (Matt 6:33 ).



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