“Put on the new self”
Reflections on the readings for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 1, 2021): EX 16:2-4,12-15; PS 78:3-4,23-24,25,54; EPH 4:17,20-24; JN 6:24-35
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
Living as a Christian is not something to take lightly. Many of us were baptized as babies, continuing a long family tradition, and learning about Christ as we grew up. Others chose this faith as adults...
The readings for this Sunday speak about what it meant for Jesus to announce Himself as the Bread of Life. In the Old Testament reading we hear about the manna that God rained down on the Israelites as they traveled through the desert after escaping slavery in Egypt: “Moses told them, ‘This is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat’” (Exodus 16:15). Christ wants His followers to recognize that not only is He giving them miraculous gifts, but also that He is the ultimate offering for their welfare on earth and in heaven. St. Paul wants the followers of Christ to recognize that in the Holy Eucharist, when bread and wine become His true Body and Blood, we must embrace this incalculable gift with sincere faith. And we start on this lifetime journey of faith with Baptism when we turn away from our old ways. “You must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.… Truth is in Jesus.… Put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth” (Ephesians 4:17, 21-24).
Living as a Christian is not something to take lightly. Many of us were baptized as babies, continuing a long family tradition, and learning about Christ as we grew up. Others chose this faith as adults after much discernment and preparation. But for all who believe in and strive to follow in the way of our Savior, we know that it is a daily commitment. It means turning away from our own preferences and plans when they are at odds with God’s will. It means putting God first and offering Him our loving service by loving others. Today and every day is the time to allow our Lord to lead us in His goodness and grace. Until our days are all ended and our eternity begins.
Suggested missionary action: Let us take time to think about what it means to “put on the new self.” Let us ask Christ to help us turn away from the temptations that can lead to sin. Instead, we need to trust in Him, our loving and beloved Savior, to help us follow His way.