- Category: Homilies for 2012
- Published on Sunday, 19 August 2012 09:17
- Written by Deacon Larry Jesmer
- Hits: 258
Scripture: 1ST Reading- Proverbs 9:1-6
2nd Reading-Ephesians 5:15-20
Gospel- John 6:51-58
In today's gospel reading Jesus concludes his teaching on the mystery of the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ truly present to us. For three weeks running we even sing the same psalm; "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord". This does not happen very often and is unusual in Church liturgy. Usually the theme's change every week.
Why is this? Did we really hear the words when we sang the psalm; "Taste and see the goodness of the Lord"? To devote four weeks to the Eucharist sure does stress the importance it must have in our lives and how it affects our minds, hearts, and souls.
We started off today with a reading from Proverbs, describing Wisdom. What do we think when we hear the word Wisdom? For some, Wisdom comes with age, it is a reverence of those people who have been around long enough to learn a few things.
Of course, I remember a time in my very young years, when I had just turned into a teenager, when I thought I knew it all, seldom listening to my parent's Wisdom only to make some wrong decisions. When I grew older I realized that they did know what they were talking about! In a way, this is what this passage is teaching us, to listen, to learn, to gain the Wisdom to make the right decisions.
This passage also asks Christians to be critically alert concerning the various invitations to feasting that are heard in the world, discerning which invitation leads to destruction and which to life.
The writer begs us not to be caught up in the kind of feasting that is marked by drunkenness and dissipation, that is those things that give us a gross sense of pleasure, a gross sense of joy, but to feast on the Holy Spirit, sharing joy, encouragement, and gratitude with others in the name of Jesus.
In our second passage from Ephesians, St. Paul offers advice to the foolish and ignorant asking them to be wise by trying to understand what God wants. And we know that God's wisdom is very different from earthly wisdom. Paul asks his audience not to get drunk on wine, but to get drunk on the Holy Spirit through prayer and music. Why Music? Can you imagine our Eucharistic service without Cleveland on the organ, our choir and our cantors?
Have you ever experienced a song that had touched your heart so deep to the point that you could not get it out of your head? This is the kind of music he is referring to. We want the Spirit in our hearts all the time, never able to shake it out of our minds, even when we don't want it there. It is through this that we can always be thankful for what God has done for us and the Wisdom he gives us to make the right choices in our lives.
Now we hear Jesus say to us in the gospel from John; "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life". This is not as hard to understand as you think! Flesh and blood in Jesus' time meant wholeness. In other words, Jesus gives us, in sacrifice, all of himself.
When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, Jesus comes to each of us personally, as though each of us was the only person in the world at that moment. A spiritual bond is forged between us and Him, with the result that we are able to enter into a deeper intimacy with him as if he were physically present.
We must never forget that the Jesus we receive in the Eucharist is the same Jesus who gave his life for you and me. The words spoken in the consecration reminds us of this: "This is my body given for you", "This is my blood shed for you". Receiving the Eucharist should invoke in each of us a spirit of sacrifice. To receive this food is to be reminded that, like Christ, we too must be willing to give ourselves in the service of others.
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a rule that when a newcomer arrived to join her order, the Missionaries of Charity, the very next day the newcomer had to go to the Home of the Dying. One day a girl came from outside India to join, so Blessed Mother Teresa said to her; "You saw with what love and care the priest touched Jesus in the Host during Mass. Now, go to the Home of the Dying and do the same, because it is the same Jesus you will find there in the broken bodies of our poor".
Three hours later the newcomer came back and, with a big smile, said to her; "Mother, I have been touching the body of Christ for three hours". "How? What did you do", Mother Teresa asked. "When I arrived there", she replied, "they brought in a man who had fallen into a drain, and had been there for some time. He was covered with dirt and had several serious wounds. I washed him and cleaned his wounds. As I did, I knew I was touching the body of Christ".
To be able to make this kind of connection, we need the help of the Lord himself, in his fullness. It is above all in the Eucharist that he gives us this help, that he gives us himself, his wisdom, his heart, his holiness. Blessed Mother Teresa put it like this:
"In the Eucharist I receive the spiritual food which sustains me in all my labors. Without it I could not get through one single day or hour of my life".
The readings today show the fullness, the completeness of what Jesus is offering to all of us, Himself, his wisdom, his heart, his holiness. Jesus gives us himself as bread of life from heaven, the food which is his body and blood, yes, his wholeness, so that we can have a relationship with God the Father that will last forever.
Let us meditate on the Wisdom of God and his ability to make himself part of our lives through his closeness to us by receiving the body and blood of Christ. And let us see how much closer we can be by becoming the vessel for our God in hearing and responding in mind, heart and soul, in our fullness, to those around us who are calling out to him.