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Sixth Week of Ordinary Time

James l:12-18 & Mk. 8:14-21.

Have you ever been on an outing and suddenly realised that you've forgotten to take sandwiches? The apostles found themselves in this predicament on their boat trip, having discovered that they had only one loaf between them. Jesus knew what they were thinking, and seized the opportunity to teach them a valuable lesson. He warned them to be on their guard against the yeast of Herod and of the Pharisees. Jesus spoke of yeast in the sense that it is a symbol of corruption. The apostles thought He was referring to bread. Jesus was warning them that they must be concerned lest they fall prey to the corrupting influence of evil men. He added that they need not worry about bread because God will supply their needs.

St. James in the first reading also has a warning for us. He tells us to be on our guard against temptation. We must not make the mistake of thinking that temptations come from God. They come from within ourselves and from persons and things around us. What comes from God is the ability to resist evil. He gives us this ability through our daily bread, the Eucharist. Although God offers His help to us through many means, such as prayers and devotions, nothing can substitute the power in the Eucharist. We all know that to live we must have food. A person who is starving wants more than consoling words what he wants and needs is nourishment.

God does much more than give us consoling words of encouragement as we struggle through life. He gives us the gift of the Eucharist. No one need starve spiritually. Our very presence here at Mass indicates our appreciation of God's gift. What we must do is to open ourselves as fully as possible to receive the benefit of this spiritual food. We must be humble enough to admit that we need Jesus in the Eucharist. We must have a firm faith that He can and will help us. We must tell Him that we are willing and eager to respond to the grace He gives us. Jesus assured His apostles that He would provide them with all the sustenance they needed. He has promised to remain with us, giving us the spiritual food we need every day.

Lord Jesus, we need not be afraid that we shall not have the strength to resist temptation, because You in the Eucharist will nourish us with Your own Body. The daily bread You gives us will make us brave enough and fit enough to cope with all evil.

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