Sunday, August 2, 2009

Sunday, August 2, 2009 ~ Eighteenth 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 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there,
they themselves got into boats
and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.
And when they found him across the sea they said to him,
“Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered them and said,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
you are looking for me not because you saw signs
but because you ate the loaves and were filled.
Do not work for food that perishes
but for the food that endures for eternal life,
which the Son of Man will give you.
For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”
So they said to him,
“What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”
So they said to him,
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”

So they said to him,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them,
“I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”


I'm posting a quoted reflection this week, partly because I have been neglecting these weekly reflections and want to get back on track and partly because at Mass today, I was reminded of this email forward that I rapidly scanned a few days ago.

Why Go To Church?

A church-goer wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper and complained that it made no sense to go to church every Sunday. "I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me, I can't remember a single one of them. So, I think I'm wasting my time and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."

This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until someone wrote this clincher:

"I've been married for 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 32,000 meals. But, for the life of me, I cannot recall the entire menu for a single one of those meals. But I do know this... They all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me these meals, I would be physically dead today. Likewise, if I had not gone to church for nourishment, I would be spiritually dead today!"

The above is written in a context that Protestants can understand, but as Catholics, think about the deeper significance of being fed by the Eucharist, the living, breathing, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus is the Bread of Life. The Sunday Gospels are currently focusing on this idea. Just as in last week's feeding of the five thousand, Jesus fed the multitude, He still feeds us with His living bread and living water, His very Self in the Eucharist.

He also feeds us in the time we spend with Him, in prayer, with Scripture. Am I feeling spiritually dead or spiritually alive? Where am I seeking nourishment? The Lord will provide the bread we need if we but ask.

Lord, help me to set aside that essential time with you to nourish my spiritual life. Give me the grace to make the sacrifices necessary to spend quiet time with you, and bless me with the ability to call you to mind throughout the rhythm of my days. Feed me with your presence in my soul.

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