Lectionary Reflection: The Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

By Carol James

Friday, August 17

1 Kings 2:10-12, 3:3-14; Psalm 111; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus is more than a little insistent on how he nourishes the people of God; it’s hardly surprising that some of his listeners balk at what he’s saying. The Church and its people have often wrestled with how literal an interpretation to put on his words about his Body and Blood. It defies common sense, yet Jesus will not let us get away from it. He wants to give his very Self to us – not an abstract concept, not an intellectual theory, but the very substance of his incarnation, uncomfortably intimate. Is he asking us to look past the literal, into the essential?

Solomon, taking over the throne of his formidable father, asks for wisdom rather than any of the traditional trappings of wealth and authority. He’s got a hunch that discernment, the ability to sift through experience to find the essential, will give him more life, more joy and more satisfaction than any temporal gift. In other parts of scripture, Wisdom is portrayed as a woman – a woman of substance setting out a feast to those who will take the time to seek out her table. Is that the feast Jesus invites us to? Can we meet his joy in offering himself with our own joy in being invited closer?

Carol James has been part of the cathedral community for over a decade. She has served as a co-mentor in the Education for Ministry program. She currently leads the evening prayer providers in the Jail Ministry and is a cathedral staff member.

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