August 1, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear Parish Family,
Today’s Gospel begins with the people realizing that Jesus has left, and they follow him to Capernaum. Once they arrive there, Jesus calls them out. He tells them that they have come back to him not because of the miracle, but rather because they want more food. Jesus begins a discus- sion that will be the cause of great debate among the people that day, and will in turn among the people of our time as well. He tells them that they should work for food that endures for eternal life. And so we ask—what is this food that endures for eternal life? He answers: this food is food that the Son of Man will give them. It’s not the food that he’d already given them, like the loaves and fish the day before. No, it is food that he will give them at a later time. Then he tells them that in order to accomplish the works of God, they must believe in the one he sent. Jesus is about to reveal something to them that could never be understood without faith, even today. He is going to tell them about the Eucharist. The people then ask him for a sign so that they can believe. But wasn’t the loaves and fishes enough of a sign for them? How many of us fall into the same way of thinking when we try to hold God accountable to give us something we want while at the same time conveniently forgetting about all that he has already given us. Then Jesus begins to reveal the wonder of the Eucharist. He tells them quite plainly: he, Jesus Christ, is the bread of life.
This would have been nonsensical to anyone who heard it without faith, many of his own disci- ples did not accept it. And it's no different today. Many Catholics fail to believe in the real presence. It cannot be fully explained or rationalized; it must be accepted in faith. Faith first in Jesus himself, who is the Son of God, and faith next in that he gave us the Eucharist, explained that it is his body and blood, and asked that we repeat what he did in memory of him. And repeat it we have, for some 2,000 years now.
Will we ever fully understand why Jesus chose to share himself with us as he does in the Eucharist? Probably not while we live on this side of heav- en. Do you believe that Jesus is the living bread come down from heaven? Do you believe in his real presence in the Eucharist? We need not look for signs like the people in today’s Gospel. It’s not proof that is needed, but faith. Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation. To begin to comprehend the Eucharist, we must first believe in him who God sent. “Lord, I believe. Increase my faith!” (hprweb.com)
God bless you all,
Sister Maria Inviolata, SMDG