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.

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