By Ms. WEENA SALVADOR MEILY
Association of Women in Theology (AWIT)
8 August 2021, Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Kings 19: 4-8
Psalms 34: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (9a)
Ephesians 4: 30 – 5: 2
John 6: 41-51
The whole of the Gospel of John is a wonderful tapestry of discourses that looks as if Jesus himself talks to us personally. I love that. It steeps of intimacy. I’d imagine him sitting on my reading couch, in a soft low-toned voice, echoing through the tiny spaces of this hermitage, and tunneling through the walkway of these apartment units carried by a soft breeze blowing from the Southwest. Then I’d imagine me sitting on my tiny round rattan footstool, beside this great Storyteller, hearing the Word in awe and wonder.
And because I am always in awe and wonder of the Good News…
Here is a reflection that is a celebration of hope in the midst of sorrow, of faith in the face of doubt and of love in the circle of hate and rage. Today’s readings all point to Jesus as the Nourisher, the Provider, the Source.
Here is a prayer that welcomes us at a time when we come under the shadows of uncertainty. We find ourselves tethered at the edge of a chaotic world. What has happened O God, to your beautiful creation? What has become of life perceived as love incarnate? Why are there so many hungry? So many robbed of their right to housing? So many in need of the basic necessities of safe food, safe water, education and health services? What has become of leaders, so corrupt and overcome with greed? And so we pray…
To the Offering Table – We Come
Coming to the table wounded, scarred and broken, WE OFFER O God our helplessness.
You are Bread from Heaven. You are food that nourishes us. But how can we enjoy your food when we have been hungered by the greed and lust for power of leaders of our country?
Coming to the table indignant, incensed and wearied, WE OFFER O God our powerlessness.
You are Bread of Life. You feed us, body and spirit. But how can we savor your bread when our
bodies are broken into pieces and our spirits crushed to the core?
Coming to the table repressed, our mouths muzzled, WE OFFER O God our voices silenced.
You are Leaven. You rise in the face of suffering. Your rising keeps us hopeful. But how can we hope
when our songs are caged and our dance beaten and battered?
At The Table – We Lament
At the table we cry out to Jesus, Provider Of The Hungry. We have been deprived of the food we
need; food that is safe and nourishing. Our lands have been converted to commercial purposes.
Where can we plant and ensure the safety of food production?
O Jesus, provider of the hungry, HEAR OUR CRY!
At the table we cry out to Jesus, Protector Of The Weak. We have been threatened, intimidated,
and harassed. Our lives inflicted with fear, we have nowhere to go. Where can we flee as we are
cruelly attacked by powerful threats?
O Jesus, protector of the weak, HEAR OUR CRY!
At the table, we cry out to Jesus, Birthplace Of Justice. Our women and children have been abused,
raped, and trafficked; our laborers unjustly treated; our mountains and forests depleted; our farmers
and fisherfolk stripped of a decent life. Where is your justice in the midst of all these?
O Jesus, Birthplace of Justice, HEAR OUR CRY!
From The Table – We Go Forth To Fulfill Jesus’ Mission
From the table, Jesus, Who-Becomes-Our-Bread, calls us to find the oppressed, bind their wounds and proclaim healing. We bring the hope of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection as we serve God’s People.
O, Jesus, accompany us in this mission of finding and proclaiming, for you are Hope and Fulfillment
of God’s Promise!
From the table, Jesus, Who-Becomes-Our-Wine, calls us to find the homeless, the prisoners, the sick,
and the dying, those who hunger and thirst, the naked, the least, the last and the lost. We bring the
hope of new wine for a renewed life.
O, Jesus, accompany us in this mission of finding and proclaiming, for you are our New Wine poured out to renew the face of the Earth!
From the table, Jesus, Who-Becomes-Our-Sustenance, calls us to bring the Good News of justice and liberation for God’s People bound in chains by a leadership that terribly fears the power in people’s unity and bonds of peace.
O Jesus, accompany us in this mission of finding and proclaiming,create in us, a spirit of courage so that we may face our oppressors with stability of heart, clarity of mind and a steadfast soul!
As we go forth to become the true Body of Christ, we fulfill our Christian calling as prophets to raise our voices as one in telling the world, that our leaders have failed, never disclosing the real state of this dire nation. That man in the palace, “never mentioned the human rights abuses committed by state forces, the destruction of Nature perpetrated by large-scale mining operations, the agony of families, victims of extra judicial killings in the name of this non-sensical war on drugs, the failure of managing health and economic needs during the pandemic ,the suffering of farmers and workers and other poor sectors of Philippine society.” (Bp. Agpaoa, UCCP) That is the true state of this nation.
And we shall continue as One Faith, One Nation, One Voice to struggle to serve your People, O God until we become a Community of Love in fulfillment of Jesus’ prophetic mission.
Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of Promotion of Church People’s Response. The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action. As we nurture our faith by committing ourselves to journey with the people, we also wish to nourish the perspective coming from the point of view of hope and struggle of the people. It is our constant longing that even as crisis intensifies, the faithful will continue to strengthen their commitment to love God and our neighbor by being one with the people in their dreams and aspirations. The Title of the Lectionary Reflection would be Balik –Tanaw , isang PAGNINILAY . It is about looking back (balik) or revisiting the narratives and stories from the Biblical text and seeing ,reading, and reflecting on these with the current context (tanaw).