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My Flesh is True Food | Breaking Open the Word at Home

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

In the readings for Sunday, Aug. 19, we’re still hearing about food! God invites us to consider what is truly nourishing, and be filled with what will satisfy us. 

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

Readings

Proverbs 9:1-6
“Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.”

Psalm 34
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Ephesians 5:15-20
Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. 

John 6:51-58
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. 

You can read the full text of this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle B

Reflection

Are you hungry yet? All three readings talk about food in one way or another. The first reading from the book of Proverbs depicts wisdom as a woman who invites us to a great feast with the best meats, good wine and a beautiful spread.

And who’s invited? The simple. Those who lack understanding. Us. She sends her servants out to find us; we don’t have to try and find her. God goes out after us, tracks us down, and invites us to fill ourselves with good things: food, yes, but also wisdom and understanding. They are given to us for free if we want them. The Letter to the Ephesians echoes this image, entreating us to put away foolishness, welcome wisdom, and fill ourselves with the Spirit.

In the Gospel, the murmuring has stopped. Now, the Jews (please note that wherever in the Gospel of John it says “the Jews,” John is referring to the Jewish authorities — it’s not a condemnation or a slur — just a distinction that he’s talking about a specific group among the Jewish community), those with authority, are openly arguing about what Jesus said regarding his being “flesh for the life of the world.” He is true life, and through the offering of his body, he gives us true, everlasting life, too. The food of God feeds our bodies and our spirits. But, like the Jews, we argue about what Jesus really means by the things he says. Wisdom interprets for us if we are willing to hear it.

Kids

Do you ever have a hard time understanding the things that Jesus said?

Teens

What foolishness do you persist in? What prevents you from turning it away to make room for wisdom and understanding?

Adults

Do you sense Jesus sending his wisdom after you, calling and inviting you to him?

Bonus Challenge

What are some of your favorite wisdom sayings? Who said them? Take a few wise quotes and hang them up in a place where everyone will see them and be reminded of them.

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.

A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.

The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”

Follow Jen Schlameuss-Perry:

Pastoral Associate

Jen is a massive fan of all things Sci-fi, Superheroes and Cartoons. These things, more than any other, occupy her mind & keyboard as she ponders them through the lens of her Catholic Faith. Jen is a Pastoral Associate for a Catholic Church, a wife, and mother of two boys.

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