Week 19, Sunday. Words of the Word

“Look to Your covenant, O Lord, and forget not the life of Your poor ones for ever. Arise, O God, and defend Your cause, and forget not the cries of those who seek You. (Psalm 74:20, 19, 22, 23)”

Almighty ever-living God, Whom,
taught by the Holy Spirit,
we dare to call our Father,
bring, we pray, to perfection in our hearts
the spirit of adoption as your sons and daughters,
that we may merit to enter into the inheritance
which you have promised.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM (click for full Psalm)
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. (Psalm 34:9).

GOSPEL EXCERPT (click for all readings)
The Jews murmured (Εγόγγυζον, egogguzon) about Jesus because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven,” and they said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven?’” Jesus answered and said to them, “Stop murmuring (μὴ γογγύζετε, me gogguzete) among yourselves (John 6:41-43).”

Perhaps it is a title of an 80’s REM album. Perhaps it describes an aliment of the heart. Perhaps you are a fan of onomatopoeic words. In this Sunday’s part of the ‘Bread of Life’ discourse, murmur is the word that describes the crowd’s response to Jesus’ continued teaching concerning the meaning of the sign (the feeding with the abundance from the loaves and fish) and the pronouncement of His own identity (I am the Bread of Life).
The Greek word that is translated murmur is γογγύζω (gogguzo). In antiquity, γογγύζω described a muffled, low tone, incoherent noise that conveyed dissatisfaction without the use of words. It was also a means of communicating one’s complaint that the other party, for whatever reason, did not live up to perceived expectations. But γογγύζω is more than simply registering a complaint or announcing one’s displeasure because it also conveys an air of entitlement. In fact, in the biblical era what separates what we call “grumbling” from “murmuring” is that the one murmuring believes she or he is entitled to something from the other. The one murmuring, rightly or wrongly (although in the Gospels is it often wrongly), has a claim on some dimension of another’s life and when that is not realized, murmuring is the response.
This helps to make some sense as to why, after murmuring, the crowds contended that they had Jesus ‘figured out.’ They readily spout their ‘knowledge’ of Jesus in such a way to express a claim that they have on Him to provide bread and fish once again. In claiming to know Him, that air of entitlement sets up a block in their own lives as to Jesus’ true identity and the meaning of the sign of the loaves and fish. As is so often the case in the walk with Jesus, if you think you have Him figured out, you don’t … and never will.

1 comment:

  1. On the other hand, while they "knew" his mother, father, at the same time, they admitted their puzzlement "Then how can he say 'I have come down from heaven'" and so the murmuring "among" themselves. This is why Jesus told them to stop. For among themselves they would never figure it out for "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him..." Jesus knew they were entitled. It is why the Father had sent Him into the world. They were entitled to Truth and Life with Jesus as the Way.