Friday, August 14, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009 ~ Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Note: These Sunday & Holy Day Gospel Reflections are written so that mothers may prepare for Holy Mass in advance either as a small group or individually (especially since we are so often necessarily distracted during Mass itself).

John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”


I am a cradle Catholic. All of my life I have believed in the Eucharist. I have always known it is the center of our faith and the most essential thing to our spiritual lives. That has always made sense. Of course, the degree to which I understood this reality grows as I mature and endure spiritual growth (yes, endure, but that's a discussion for another post).

This Gospel is the hardest teaching Jesus ever gave. Loving your enemies, leaving your father and mother, and giving away your worldly wealth are nothing compared to "Eat My Flesh." Even today, it is the primary division between the Catholic faith and all other Christian churches (although there are many others, of course). Those who do research on the early Church and her belief in the Eucharist are often led to the full understanding of this passage.

Jesus is ALIVE in the Eucharist. He is there. He longs for me to go to Him, to be united to Him so intimately that I consume His Body and Blood. Transubstantiation is a miracle. Every Mass is a call to each of us to draw near to Our Lord, witness the miracle, and receive Him. How do I respond to that call?

Do I work to ensure that our Sunday Mass experience (before, during, and after) is blessed and holy? We discovered that playing chant while we are getting ready Sunday mornings helps put us in the right mood for Mass - joyful, reverent, content.

At Mass, do I model for my children awe at the beauty before me? I find my children behave best when I focus on the Mass, especially during the Consecration, using only my touch to redirect them (not even taking my eyes from the altar to look at them).

Do I find the time to attend daily Mass even once a week? This is my new goal for the school year. In a new city, it has been hard for me to find a way we can do this. The only mid-day Masses, which I am used to attending with children, are quite a drive. I think it is time to wake the children up early once a week and go to the 8AM Mass.

Am I making a weekly Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration? Over the summer, I fell out of this habit and need to get back to it. There is nothing more refreshing than an early-morning hour of peace and quiet before the Lord to soothe my soul.

Lord, help me to properly worship you in the Eucharist. Give me the grace I need to overcome myself and focus entirely on You. "Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore You profoundly and I offer You the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners."

1 comment:

Kitchen Stewardship said...

Beautiful, Jenny. I need to remember to keep holy time before, during AND after Mass on Sundays. We have a lot of stress about leaving on time and such like that...temptations to sin, I'm sure! It's time to reevaluate my focus on Sundays...again... Thank you for this post!