Saturday, August 25, 2018

Eucharist and our covenant with God


21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:60-69 

Today, Joshua called on the people to renew their covenant with God.  In full freedom the Israelites responded.

In today's gospel, after the long discourse on the Eucharist, still the people left Jesus, claiming that it's hard to swallow this teaching.  Jesus turned to his apostles and asked, "Are you also going to leave me?"  The apostles responded, "To whom shall we go?  You have the words of everlasting life?"  They also believed that Jesus is the Holy One of God.

The closest covenant with Jesus is the covenant between husband and wife, when the two shall be one body.  This connotes full freedom of two partners to enter into a contract.  Even though God knows what will happen to us if we desert him, still he respects our full freedom to enter into his covenant.

The Eucharist is our covenant with Jesus: "This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood" (Luke 22:20).

This covenant contains the following:

First, Jesus' responsibility to care for us - Jesus' action on the cross to forgive us and give us life.

Second, love that binds - A new covenant is created: "I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31: 31–33).  This is bound by a deep relationship with God and with one another based on love.

Third, our share in the covenant - to know, love, adore, and serve God is the deepest commitment we can ever give to God.  This should be manifested in our new way of life: the way of love.




Saturday, August 18, 2018

Communion, the ultimate union

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:51-58

Communion - what a wonderful word that signifies not just a special kind of unity, but of an intense reality of oneness that cannot be separated by any time and space!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us: "Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.151 We also call it: the holy things (ta hagia; sancta)152 - the first meaning of the phrase "communion of saints" in the Apostles' Creed - the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality,153 viaticum. . . ." (CCC 150 - 153)

First, union with Christ - The Eucharist is the foretaste of heaven because here on earth, union with Christ is made possible.  We further expand this thought by incorporating our thought, word, and deed to that of Christ, making us one body in him.  It is becomes possible for us as recipients of the Holy Communion to be one with each other as one body of Christ.

Second, union with the holy things - communion of saints, the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality.  Such union is totally possible only if we allow ourselves to be united with the Church, which from it is born the saints, the sacraments, and all graces that come out of it.

Third, viaticum - the last food of our journey to everlasting life which is none other than Jesus himself who will embrace us and lead us to his kingdom.

Desire for total union as you receive the Holy Communion, union with God and with one another in the bond of pure love.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Presence

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

John 6:41-51

This is the second part of Jesus' discourse on the Eucharist.  It is prefigured in the first reading when an angel commanded Elijah to eat the scone and drink the water.  These sustained his journey for forty days and nights without food till he reached Horeb.

In the gospel, Jesus said, "I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.  Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever."

I would like to dwell then on life the Eucharist is giving us, both in this world and in eternal life.  But a condition for that life is to acknowledge that Jesus is present in the Eucharist.

Presence.  In today's times, this presence is replaced with virtual reality.  A person who is not present can still be present virtually by liking and making entries on social media.

But presence is still different.  It's the person in front of you body and spirit, ready to assist you or lend a hand.

Jesus is totally present to us.  The Jesus who said, "Take and eat; this is my body" is the same Jesus present in the priest as he raises the bread and says, "Take and eat, this is my body.

Second, Jesus is present as we receive him in Holy Communion.  We receive him by the mouth; we savor his presence.  We walk with utmost reverence to Jesus inside our bodies.  We become incorporated to Jesus' own body, making him our own.

Third, we become Jesus' presence to others.  We use every inch of our bodies to reach out to people, to forgive, to extend help to the poor, to raise up the fallen.  We give life to others because Jesus is present to us.

Grant that we may be present totally to Jesus every time we participate in the Most Blessed Eucharist.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Thankfulness


18th Sunday in Ordinary Time


John 6:24-35

What is the Eucharist for us personally?

From its original word, it means "thanksgiving to God".

We say as the bread and wine are offered: "Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation,
for through your goodness we have received...the bread and wine, fruits of the earth and work of human hands..."  That is thanksgiving.

We have our whole lives to thank for.  The air we breathe, the people we meet, our homes, the food, our strength... God supplies everything for us.  Sometimes, our words of thanks come in late.  We need to be given before we can thank God.  But God already supplies us even before we can ask for the grace. 

Thank God also for the things money can't buy.  Love or compassion, sharing and caring, forgiveness, integrity.  These are all faces of goodness.

Most of all, thank Jesus in the Blessed Eucharist.  He's the only one who can give us life.  I thank the Lord for the gift of priesthood.  Every priest may be weak, but he is endowed with the gift to celebrate the Eucharist and to transbustantiate bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ to be shared to others.

Only Christ can save us, forgive us, and bring us to life.  Only Christ can supply us with the gifts of compassion and love. Only Christ can orient us to a life of stewardship.  Christ is the bread of life.