When Others Don't Believe In You
Opening Question: Has someone ever told you that you could not do something, and you did it anyway? What happened? How did it make you feel?
First Reading: 1 Kings 19:5-8
On the starting line of the Junior Olympics, Allison stared at the finish. Everyone said Allison was too weak to win the race. And her class mates who were running let her know it. "Why are you here, Allison?" teased one girl. "Hey everybody! The weakling is going to race!" taunted another. "Watch out, Allison! The wind might blow you over," added a third. On the outside, Allison ignored her classmates. But, on the inside, she just wanted to get the race over with so she could go home.
"On your mark, get set, GO!" the race official yelled. Allison looked straight ahead and ran as fast as she could. She went faster and faster and faster. When she passed the finish line, Allison collapsed into her mother's arms from exhaustion. Her mom gave her a long drink of Gatorade. After a few moments, Allison began to breathe normally and her energy returned.
"Racers, go the table at the finish line and tell the recorder how you finished," announced the official. "How did I finish, Mom?" Allison asked. "You were first!" her mom replied. Allison's face beamed with pride, as she walked over to the table. The girls who raced against Allison stood in line behind her and said nothing.
In today's reading, Elijah went into the desert to go and hide. But God sent an angel to feed him. After he ate, he got his energy back and he went back to work for God. Like Allison, Elijah's desire to escape didn't last very long.
Sometimes, when people tease or hurt us, all we want to do is to go hide. Sometimes its okay to take a break, but it is not okay to give up, to hide forever. Like Allison, God will give us the courage to do what needs to be done. Like Elijah, God will give us the power to do what he wants done.
Bridge Question: Has someone ever told you that you could not do something, and you did it anyway? What happened? How did it make you feel?
Gospel: John 6:41-51
Because Jesus said, "I am the bread that comes down from heaven," the people kept grumbling, "Isn't this Jesus, Joseph's son. Don't we know his father and mother? How can this Jesus now say that he comes down from heaven?"
"Don't grumble among yourselves," Jesus
"No one can come to me,
unless the Father who sent me
leads them to me.
It says in the Bible, 'God will teach everyone.'
Everyone who hears the Father and learns from him,
comes to me.
It's not that someone has seen the Father.
Only the One from God has seen the Father.
The one who trusts God has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
In the desert, your ancestors ate manna (the bread God sent them),
and they still died.
But this is the bread that comes down from heaven.
If someone eats it, he will not die.
I am the living bread that has come down from heaven.
If someone eats this bread,
he will live forever.
Indeed, the bread I will give is my flesh
that will give true life to the world."
When John was young, he would stop and stare into space. When he would refocus, people would ask him what he was thinking about. "Nothing," John would reply. Some people thought John wasn't very smart.
But John's parents knew better. They took him to different kinds of doctors and psychologists. He was tested this way and that. Finally, a brain doctor, called a neurologist, found out John had seizures. "Take this medicine every day," the doctor told John, " and your seizures will go away." John took the medicine and his seizures did, indeed, go away.
The seizures, unfortunately, put John behind in school. Some of John's teachers tried to help him. Others believed the people who knew John when he had his seizures; they thought he wasn't very smart.
John just worked harder, year after year. And, year after year, John got a little better in reading and math and science. He found ways to work around his problems. Today, John has done so well that he is on the honor roll.
Like John, people did not believe that Jesus could be something more. They knew that he was the son of a carpenter, nothing really special. "How could Jesus be from God?" they grumbled. But they missed the point. God tells us where Jesus comes from and what Jesus is going to do. God gives Jesus to us as our teacher and our life. All we have to do is say "Yes, we believe!"
Did you know that the word "Amen" means "Yes, we believe?" When we receive Communion, the person who gives us the bread says "Body of Christ." We say "Amen." When we receive Communion, the person who gives us the wine says "Blood of Christ."
When you face a situation like John or Jesus, when no one believes in you, reach down into your heart and say "Amen. Yes, I believe!" And prove everyone wrong!
Closing Reflection: Think about the people that don't believe in you. Pray for them. And believe in the person God made: YOU!