August 12, 2018
The crowd seeks Jesus out for more bread. Aware of their intention Jesus urges “the seekers” to work for food that endures for eternal life. They ask how to obtain this bread. Jesus urges them to “believe in” in the one God sent into the world. Recall John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” “Believe in” occurs 34 time in the Gospel according to St. John. It is not so much a mental exercise e.g. memorizing the catechism as a giving of our entire being. It is foremost an act of the will and heart when we “come and see where Jesus lives.”
The feeding of the multitude is a sign. A sign engages the person on one level and, at the same time, points to deeper meaning. The heavenly bread that Jesus offers embodies the life that he enjoys with his Father that sustains him. Jesus shares this bread of union through his teaching and his disciples come to experience the love of the Father and Son when they keep his commandments.
Bread is also the body of Jesus on the cross that he offers in obedience to the Father for our redemption. Bread is his continuing presence in Eucharist, his body and blood we receive in Holy Communion. There are multiple levels of meaning. The bread is the living Word of God; it is the body of Jesus on the cross, it is the sacrament of his Body & Blood. When we receive Holy Communion, Christ becomes incarnate in us. “We consume the bread of life in order to become the flesh and blood that brings life to others.” We are the heart, the voice and hands of Jesus in the world.
Jesus repeatedly invites his disciples and those listening to “believe in” him. Remarkably Jesus “believes in” us. “Love one another as I have loved you.”
We would not expect a homecoming like this when Jesus returns to his native place. He is recognized as the carpenter, the son of Mary, with brothers and sisters. “Brothers and sisters” in Aramaic is a Semitic idiom that refers to the extended families of Joseph and Mary including cousins, nephews, nieces, half brothers and half sisters. They are astonished at his teach... READ MORE
We can only image the joy and the fear of Elizabeth and Zechariah. Married many years with no children. But now, in the sanctuary of the temple, Gabriel, the angel of God, appears to Zechariah, to announce that he will be a father. Zechariah is fearful and questions God’s plan. Dumbfounded, unable to speak, he returns home. Elizabeth conceives in her womb. She remains in... READ MORE
Saturday morning was the feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The Gospel was from Luke chapter 2 verses 41-51. It recalls an incident in the life of the holy family of Nazareth when Jesus is 12 years old. Mary and Joseph discover that Jesus is not with relatives and friends as they return home from Jerusalem. He remained at the temple listening to the ... READ MORE
Like thoroughbred horse racing’s Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes) we have three solemnities in a row: Pentecost, Most Holy Trinity and Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. These feast days celebrate fundamental mysteries of our Catholic faith. The institution of Eucharist is commemorated on Holy Thursday when we remember Jesus taking and shar... READ MORE
We are viewing spectacular and frightening volcano eruptions on the Island of Hawaii. I remember my experience on top of a volcano on the Island of Maui. In the middle of the night we drove up the mountain to be in place at the top when the sun rises. It was so dark that we didn't realize that we were positioned inside the rim of the volcano. When the first rays of the mor... READ MORE