Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 1 August 2021

Gold, silver and bronze. The Olympics are back. The nations, some 196 plus, have gathered. Around 10,000 athletes and many more support staff. New sports, skateboarding and BMX to name just a couple which were not invented when I was young. Even mixed relay teams in and out of the water. And people say that things don’t change!

I wondered for a long time about these events and where the “true bread“  fits into this world in which hunger still is present and the locals have never eaten wheaten bread, let alone dined with barley loaves or drank a glass of wine.

We have our medals. Servant of God, Blessed and Saint.

A golden victory at Tokyo for the Philippines was their first ever and has produced a wonderful sense of pride for the people. Perhaps a little like the Jesuit Community as they remember the Feast of St Ignatius on July 31. They recall the occasion 500 years ago when Ignatius fell foul of that cannonball! What makes a person train for years to be first on the podium? What makes a person like Ignatius do a back flip and harness a mighty force that helped transform a wounded Church back to life?

Jesus, offering the “true bread”, set off alarm bells in the minds of his immediate listeners and shock waves amongst the leaders in Jerusalem. Could they cope with a better bread than what they had in the time of Moses?

How do we cope with trying to offer “true bread” to all the new nations of our world…and not impose on them the bread of Moses?

Tokyo 2021 offers us a glimpse of a new world being born and poses questions for a Church community called to preach the Gospel to every creature. There are some wishing that the Olympics were more like they were in the “good” old days, as there are those wishing our beloved Church to be as it was. Pope Francis puts it in “Let us Dream” … “attempts at restoration always takes us down a dead-end street”.

The scripture this week calls us to really ponder our path to glory. Paul’s exhortation contains a number of pertinent statements.

  • Are we living in the way we have learnt from Christ?
  • Have we heard his truth properly?
  • Are we a new self, created in Gods way?

Indeed, are we training in the goodness and holiness of the Truth?

Happy Olympics viewing!

Mons Frank