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Weekend Homilies
A listing of recent homilies delivered at my parish.
Una lista de homilías recientes entregadas en mi parroquia.
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  • Pub Date: Aug 01, 2021
  • 08-01-2021 - 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
  • Listen:
  • Reading:
    John 6:35
    Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
    We take a break for a couple of weeks during this cycle of readings to turn from Mark’s gospel to John’s. We read parts of John’s Gospel every year, but there is no dedicated time to look at John’s Gospel specifically. I want to do that this weekend.
    In the beginning… Yes those are important words. They start both the gospel of John and the book of Genesis. There is a reason for that. John is setting up the first week of Jesus’ public life in the first two chapters of his gospel. The seventh day is the day of the first public miracle that Jesus performs. How many of you think you know what it is? It is the wedding feast of Cana. How many of you guessed it right?
    This is a huge point. Jesus is not only giving a sacramental basis for the for marriage, but he is revealing the New Covenant. Changing water into wine at the wedding feast, then changing wine into his blood at the Last Supper shows a progressive revelation of the New Covenant.
    And in our gospel today, Jesus is bringing in another aspect of the entire covenantal relationship revealed in the Old Testament. It is not the manna from heaven, it is not the covenant with Adam and Eve, nor with any of the other covenants God made with his people in the Old Testament.
    No. This is something new. The newness of it is shown in the wedding feast at Cana, in the multiplication of the loaves, in his declaration that he is the bread of life, in his giving of himself in the Last Supper, in his death on the cross, in his resurrection from the dead, in his ascension to glory.
    Notice that this is part of the creed that we say. Not in the exact words, but in the implication of who God is, who Christ is. This is our faith. To never hunger, to never thirst; these are strange words to people that need to eat and drink every day. But they are words filled with the promise of God.
    There are many people who refuse to admit the reality of what the church declares in what the Eucharist is. It, along with baptism, are the marks of the New Covenant.
    There are some recent studies of Catholic thought that make a claim that up to one third of practicing Catholics do not accept the idea of the Eucharist being the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. This means they are denying the miracle of the Eucharist, the miracle of what Jesus set up as a means for our sustenance: “whoever comes to me will never hunger…”
    I am not saying that we need to live only on the Eucharistic elements. Although, there have been saints who have done so for years. What I am saying is that if we do not believe that Jesus chooses to sustain us by his presence in the Eucharist, we are denying the very basis of our faith. The Second Vatican Council called the Eucharist the source and summit of our faith.
    There are non-Catholics who refuse to accept the plain and simple words of Jesus that are described in some of the other verses in this sixth chapter of John. For so many people this whole concept of the Eucharistic presence of Jesus is a stumbling block for their faith.
    Whether it is because they disagree with the possibility of Jesus being present in the Eucharist, or if it is because they reject the teaching of the church (which is also the teaching of Jesus), they put themselves at extreme risk.
    This is part of the scandal of Catholicism. Later in this same chapter of John, Jesus will say: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”
    I want to return to my opening point. The idea of the new covenant that John is writing about by starting Jesus’ ministry on the seventh day with the wedding feast at Cana. This is no coincidence! John is making a serious point. Jesus has made the whole world new. This also is the scandal of Catholicism that the world will not accept.
    It begins with a joyous celebration of the best wine. It continues with Jesus revealing himself as the bread of life. It is brought to completion when Jesus says, from the cross, “it is finished.” And it is brought to fulfillment when Jesus arises from the dead three days later.
    I am afraid we have not taken as close a look at the polished story that St. John gives us in the Gospel. We are a new creation in Christ, as St. Paul says. We are in a new time, a new covenant, a final time, a final covenant. How can anyone question the importance of the Eucharist? How can anyone not wonder or even be in awe at what God has chosen to do.
    As St. Paul says, “eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor is it so much is dawned on man what God has planned for those who love him.” Amen.
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