#AccessPoint, a reflection for Sunday, August 9, 2015 asks us to hear Jesus’ encounter with the leaders of the church with new ears.  This reflection points us in the direction of seeing the world and hearing what we need to hear to make it through life.  Listen to “Access Point” and comment on this post to join in the discussion.  Available on itunes and android.   #MSAWordfortheDay #MySpiritualAdvisor #Sermon #Homily #PamelaLandy  #Spiritual #BreadofLife #TheWord #WalkOurWalk #TalkOurTalk #BourneUltimatum #JasonBourne #ClintEastwood

For My Spiritual Advisor, this is Mark Kurowski with a reflection for Sunday,   8/9/2015 The 19th   Sunday of Ordinary Time.

 Please pause this audio and read John 6:35, 41-51.

         Two weeks ago, in our series on John 6, Jesus presents us with the feeding of the 5,000 and asks us to be open to what God can do. Last week, in seeing that the people were stuck thinking only of their material needs, they also applied the limitations of the physical world to God, I asked you to think of God beyond limitations. This week, I am going to ask you be open to the life giving Jesus.

         Over the last few weeks, I have had a few of my priest and pastor friends get in touch with me because they are discouraged about their life in ministry. Each and every day, they are fighting battles that are, well, truly silly for people who are followers of Jesus Christ. I have been there with them. I know what it is like. In my hour of need, I called them. When I called them, they reminded me that I was called by God to a relationship with Jesus Christ that sustains me through all things. They reminded me that all Life is contained him Him. Return to him and refocus my activities on my relationship with him, they said. So, I just repeated to them, what they have said to me.

         In the midst of our everyday lives, the paychecks, the meetings, the bills to be paid, children to be cared for, children to be dropped off, grocery stores to buy from, home repairs to make, trips to plan, doctors to visit, we are so caught up in the details of things, that we can forget that there is a universe in which we reside. The universe was created by God. We Christians believe that the universe was created through Jesus Christ.

In John’s Gospel, the first chapter is incredibly important. It says of Jesus that he was the Word and the Word was God. It also has this wonderfully complicated sentence, “all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”[1] Origen, the Church Father said, “Before he is Jesus, he is the Son,” of “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

         These are the passages that have been drilled into our heads about Jesus. He is God. Through him all things were made. Yet, right next to the verse I just quoted is this little gem, “In him was life.”[2] Can we remove the ears with which we have heard our faith for so many years? Can we step back and let our faith stop being domesticated to our convenience?

         A few years ago, I was called by a family member who had a close friend that experienced something that is just dreadful: the still birth of a child. She asked me, “If the child was not baptized, will he still go to heaven?” We don’t know the answer to that. What we know is that there is a life beyond us. We know that God is the ultimate arbiter of eternal life. We know that God is love. So, my answer to her was this, “This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to our faith. We believe that life is more than just this world. We believe that God is love. So, we will trust that God is going to be loving to that child.” We need to trust that there is a world larger than our immediate world and that God is in charge of it. He made us and our lives are in the context of that world.

         There is a scene in the movie “Bourne Ultimatum” where Jason Bourne, my favorite smash’em up, you can’t beat me hero, is being chased by the covert wing of the CIA which created him. Bourne is an agent gone rogue and the team is trying to catch him with people on the ground, cameras in the air, and computers tracking him. The previous leader of the team, Noah Bosen, introduces a new person to the team who has studied Jason Bourne. Her name is Pamela Landy. Landy dispenses with introductions and says, “People, do you have any idea who you are dealing with? This is Jason Bourne. You are nine hours behind the toughest target you have ever tracked. Now I want everyone to sit down, strap in, and turn on all you got. THAT WOULD MEAN NOW!” I love that scene.

Whether it is Rambo, the Terminator, Jason Bourne, Clint Eastwood in his many forms, or Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith in “Men in Black”, there is a type of character in movies that we like: the man or woman beyond limits. If the CIA is smart, Bourne is smarter. If the CIA is strong, Bourne is stronger. If the CIA is resourceful, Bourne is more resourceful. If the CIA is quick, Bourne is quicker.

The problem with the group of people who are trying to catch the rogue agent is that they continue to think like they always have. They continue to think in their immediate sphere and do not try to think beyond themselves or in the context of the contest. We have the same thing going on in the passage from John 6. Previously, John had Jesus compared to Moses and I have an infographic at MySpiritualAdvisor.com that shows the comparison between Moses and Jesus. On every score, Moses is great, but Jesus is greater. Just prior to this “Bread from Heaven” passage, Jesus walks on water and before that he feeds the 5,000.

So, in the last couple of weeks, John is making the case that Jesus is greater than Moses. John is making the case that Jesus is not of this world, that he is beyond this world. In our passage for today, Jesus comes out and says that he is the Bread which came down from Heaven. In reality, he is God. Like in Matthew, Mark, and most famously, in Luke, the people around Jesus cannot accept this. They know him in a different context. They know him as the son of Joseph.  

We know who Jesus is because we read at the outset that Jesus Christ is the Word. We know that through him all things were created. We know that in him is life. He himself is the Life Giving Bread.

In Romans 10:9, St. Paul says, “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” In this act, we move from living in this world to living in the eternal world. In the eternal world, there is a perspective that gives life. We see the world through that lens. It is when Jesus is confronted by Satan in the desert while fasting forty days and forty nights that we see who he is. Satan offers a hungry Lord bread to eat. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” In this passage today, Jesus lays claim to being that Word from the mouth of God and eternal life, all life, is in him.

         Jesus is our point of reference. He is our lens through which we find our sustenance and guidance. When we are down, we go to Jesus. When we are happy, we go to Jesus. When we are unsure, we go to Jesus. When life faces us with too much, we go to Jesus. When we want to understand what just happened, we go to Jesus. When we feel as though we cannot go on, we go to Jesus. Why? Why do we do this? We do it because not only is he the Word, not only is there life in him, but he has come down to us and made that life giving word accessible. Next week, we will talk about how he makes that Word routinely accessible. Before that, we must identify now that he is the Bread that sustains us.

         Jesus Christ is the access point, the Bread of Sustenance, the perspective of the created order.   By believing in him, we have eternal life. When we have eternal life, we are beyond the death that kills only the body. We have perspective to live life. Our view of the world and the people in it are transformed. Our ability to think outside of the needs of this world is enlarged and we are made able to withstand more than we ever thought we could.

         Turn to Christ. Turn and be sustained. Turn and see him for who he is: the Lord, the Son, the Word, the Bread Come Down from Heaven. Turn and be filled. Amen.

This audio is under the copyright of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated and may not be used, reduplicated, or distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated. My Spiritual Advisor, Incorporated, 2015.

[1] John 1:3

[2][2] John 1:4