In the Gospel for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Jesus offers himself as the bread of life. “So they said to him, ‘What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?  Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’ So Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst’ ” (John 6: 30-31, 35). The love of Jesus nourishes me. Food and drink sustains my body. Jesus’ loving care sustains my faith, hope, and love. Jesus nourishes my faith in God’s love, my hope in God’s provident care, and my love for all God’s people. My faith in God gives my life purpose. My hope in God engenders my reliance on God. My love for God inspires me to give of myself in the service of others. How is Jesus food for your life?

In the Gospel for the Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Jesus feeds 5000. “One of his disciples, Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, said to [Jesus], ‘There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish; but what good are these for so many?’ Jesus said, ‘Have the people recline.’ Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted” (John 6: 8-10a, 11).  Jesus did great things with the young boy’s small amount of food. God does great things with what we share with others. God works with even our simplest gifts. When we give of ourselves, we make a difference in others’ lives. Through our love for others, God accomplishes great things. What do you have to share with others?

In the Gospel for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Jesus and his apostles return to shore where a large crowd awaits them. “When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things” (Mark 6: 34). Crowds were following Jesus everywhere. Jesus and the apostles had escaped by boat to a quiet place. The crowd ran ahead to beat Jesus’ boat at the shore. Jesus is unannoyed. Moved with concern for them, he cares for their needs. Jesus models the loving response to annoying people. We all have them in our lives. We spend a lot of energy trying to avoid them. Christians care for annoying people who make demands, look and act differently, suffer with illnesses, struggle with addictions, need loving care. They are an occasion of God’s grace. For what annoying people does God want you to have compassion?

In the Gospel for the Fourteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Jesus returns to Nazareth, his hometown, where he teaches with wisdom and works wonders. The townspeople’s astonishment turns to resentment. ‘Where did this man get all this? Is he not the carpenter, the son of Mary, and the brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon?’ And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.’ ” (Mark 6: 2c, 3a, c, 4). Prophets comfort the troubled and trouble the comfortable. Christians comfort the troubled by caring for the sick, visiting the lonely, feeding the hungry, meeting the physical needs of the suffering. Christians trouble the comfortable by welcoming people of different gender identities, working for just immigration policy, confronting systemic racism, lobbying for climate accords to end global warming. God calls us to prophesy in these and other ways. How is God calling you to be a prophet?

In the Gospel for the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Jesus heals the woman with afflicted with a hemorrhage for twelve years. “She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, ‘If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.’ Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction’ ” (Mark 5: 27-29, 33a, 34). The sick woman felt in need of the healing of Jesus. She trusted in Jesus to restore her life. She is a model of Christian faith and trust in God. My trust is not always so good. I often feel the need to be in control. Yet great things happen when I ask God for help. I attended an Anointing of the Sick mass even though I did not think I needed healing. When the priest approached me, I changed my mind. By trusting in the healing power of God, I later found the courage to be honest with a co-worker. For what do you need to trust in the healing power of God?

In the Gospel for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Jesus calms the storm. “A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up. Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. [The disciples] woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Quiet!  Be still!’ The wind ceased and there was great calm” (Mark 4: 37-39). When I have troubles, I wonder if Jesus cares. My son’s five year relationship with his girlfriend recently ended. He was hoping to marry her. I cannot protect him from the pain of the break up. I can trust that God cares. I believe God will calm the storm raging in his life. Does God care about the storms in your life? Explain.

In the Gospel for the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time B, Jesus tells the Parable of the Growing Seed. “This is how it is with the kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and through it all the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how. Of its own accord the land yields fruit, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear” (Mark 4: 26-28). The disciples plant the seed of faith. God does the work in growing that faith to maturity. Disciples are instruments, not sources, of God’s power. Parenting taught me how to be an instrument of God’s loving power. God empowered me and my spouse to raise our sons as loving persons. We could not have done it without God’s help? How does God nurture you to be an instrument of God’s love?

In the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity B, Jesus commissions his disciples. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28: 19-20b). Making disciples is the Christian’s job description. Christians make disciples by witnessing to God’s love. Every act of loving kindness testifies to God’s incredible care for all of us. Christians give example of God’s love by feeding their children, caring for their sick relatives, burying their friends, welcoming strangers, advocating for racial justice, offering their lives for others. How do you make disciples?

In the Gospel for Pentecost Sunday, Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to his disciples. “On the evening of that first day of the week … Jesus came and stood in their midst … he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ ” (John 20: 19-22). The Resurrection has happened. Christ has given us the Holy Spirit. The breath of the Holy Spirit animates us now. We are reborn through Baptism to live lives of love for others. Now empy nesters, my wife and I look back in awe on all the years of raising our children. We could not have done it without the help of the Holy Spirit! How do you experience the breath of the Holy Spirit in your life?

In the Gospel for the Solemnity of the Ascenion of Our Lord B, Jesus commissions his disciples. “Go into the whole world and proclaim the gospel to every creature … These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16: 15,17-18). At his Ascension into heaven, the Risen Lord sent his disciples on a mission to continue his ministry. He gave them power to drive out demons and to heal the sick. He promised them protection from harm. I have never driven out demons or handled poisonous snakes. I have comforted mourners overcome with grief. I have cared my sick sons back into health. Comfort for the grief sticken and healing for sick children are signs of Christ’s love in me for others. What signs of Christian love accompany you?