As we bring our summer to a close many have either taken some type of a journey, or are on their way back home. I remember that is what we did every summer. Pack up the camper and we would travel. When ever we embark on a journey there is always a need to have the right food to sustain us on our trip. As a family we made trips every summer. My favorite were the home-made meatloaf sandwiches and cold friend chicken. As we traveled there wasn’t time to stop at fast food restaurants nor the money to feed a family of eight. So the food would be prepared in order for us to take the journey.
It seems that it would always make the journey easier, if we had the right food along to sustain us until we reached our destination. Each and every day we are on a Spiritual journey. The destination is ultimately union with God for all eternity. We start each day recognizing that we are a pilgrim people on a journey in life that is meant to culminate with Christ. To enter this journey we need spiritual food, otherwise like Elijah in the our first readings from Kings we will just want to give up. The weight of all that overwhelms us, discourages us causes us to be weighed down to the point where want to give up all together.
Having taken on the religious leaders of his day, slain the priests and now Elijah finds the Queen’s army and guard chasing him. Under her leadership the people had turned away from God and the Law. Jezebel led the people to turn away from God and worship false gods. So now she seeks to destroy Elijah.
In the midst of his flight for his life, Elijah has no food and is tired, he falls asleep under a broom tree and it is here the God enters in. With the touch of an angel he wakes and eats, this is repeated and now Elijah has enough food to sustain him until he can reach the mountain of Horeb.
We become spiritually starved, weighed down and find the journey difficult. As a pastor I too can get discouraged, few people and very little income and I wonder Lord, how are we going to make it, or I just want to toss in the towel, like Elijah just give up. Elijah asks to die. Wondering what’s the use? Work hard do your best and for what? This is where the food for the spiritual journey comes in. The sustaining force that says not only is it worth it, not just simply hang in there, but rather an infusion of strength, fervor and encouragement comes from remaining in communion with Christ and allowing him to feed me.
Prayer, study, Eucharist and ministry become the food for the journey. Weary and worry are transformed to strength and courage. I know that this is God’s Church, God’s People and God’s ministry and all I have to do is sit and be still and watch God do the work. This parish and ministry is anointed and I’ll let get provide what is needed. I see that in prayer I am strengthened, in study of God’s Word I am encouraged and sustained to know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthen’s me.
Like the angel touches and wakes Elijah so are we touched and encouraged by God. It was God who provided the food and water, even the very broom tree where Elijah found shelter. We matter so much to God, he desires to provide, protect and care for us. He knows that the journey that we face each day is a challenge and he feeds us providing Food to strengthen our Journey.
The Gospel is clear to our primary source of Food for our spiritual journey our daily walk and living the Divine Life. Jesus is the bread of life, the living bread come down from heaven. It is the Eucharist that must be the primary source of our strength and sustainance. To be a Eucharistic people means that Jesus’ very body and blood sustain us on our journey and ultimately bring us into union with Him who is our very food.
I will not allow discourage, dispair or distrust keep me from the sustaining power of Christ and His action in my life and in the lives of those that we serve. I call upon all who recieve this message to see in Jesus the Bread of Life, the sustance and food for you spiritual journey. Don’t dispair, be encouraged by Jesus being your food. Through the ups and downs of life, when you just want to give up and die, when you just don’t know where the strength will come from to take another step, just allow God to touch your shoulder, wake you up from despair and let Christ be your food and your hope for the journy.