On this first Sunday of the month of August, our Church calendar celebrates the 18th Sunday in the Ordinary Time of the Year. And in this particular year when our Sunday Scripture readings are taken from Cycle “B,” we continue our reading from John’s Gospel, Chapter 6 – the great Bread of Life discourse. It will take us a full five weeks to make our way through this incredible chapter in John’s Gospel. We began last week with account of the miraculous feeding of 5000 men (and who knows how many women and children) with only five barley loaves and two dried fish. It was important for Jesus to satisfy the physical needs of the crowd – hunger – before he invites them to consider deeper things.
Now that Jesus has their attention, he invites them to take the next step. First he challenges them and points out that their hearts are not moved to faith by his “signs” but by the fact that they received a free lunch from him. He takes the opportunity to warn them not to settle for “junk food,” but to seek instead the bread of eternal life. At first, the crowd says, “Yes!” but then quickly reveal that they missed his point as they demand more signs. In response to Jesus’ invitation to believe in him, they ask him to top Moses with an even more dramatic sign than the manna in the desert. Jesus is trying to stretch their understanding. They respond as black and white literalists expecting him to satisfy physical hunger. Jesus speaks bluntly: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Sadly, the truth of who he is will send many packing, not to return. To be continued….
This Chapter in John’s Gospel presents Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist. Unlike the other three Gospels (Matthew, Mark & Luke), John’s Gospel does not have a Eucharistic narrative at the Last Supper. Instead, John tells us how Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and then launches into Jesus’ Farewell Discourse before departing for the Garden of Gethsemane. John gives us Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist long before the Last Supper. We are hearing it right now in the Bread of Life Discourse in Chapter 6. For us Catholics, our beliefs in the Eucharist are at the very center of our faith. We hold fast to the beliefs Jesus gave us from the beginning. For close to 2000 years now we have recognized his presence in the Eucharist and responded to his desire to be with us. It is our custom to provide the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration every First Friday of the month. We begin immediately following the 7:00am morning Mass, take a break to celebrate the daily 12:05pm Mass, and then resume throughout the afternoon, overnight, and then conclude with Benediction at 8:00am Saturday morning. People are welcome to come and go as they see fit. You can stay for as long or as little as you would like. It is a great time to simply be in the presence of the Lord, to share our thoughts and cares with him, and then to be quiet in his presence. If you have never tried this prayer form before, this Friday, August 7th is the First Friday of August. The opportunity is here – give it a try and experience the peace and calm that can come from spending some quiet time with the Lord.
This Thursday, August 6th, we celebrate the major feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. As Jesus joined in prayer with Peter, James and John, they saw his identity as God’s beloved Son burst forth in glory. It was a moment when every piece of Jesus’ life came together, a vision of life lived in total communion with God. This feast invites us to see things differently as we make our own journey of faith. Living in the light of the Lord does not guarantee clarity of vision, but does help us to see things differently. The feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord invites us to take the time to notice those glorious and not-so-glorious moments of our lives where God’s presence can be clearly felt.
Work continues on our parish Summer To-Do list. Like in our homes, there are always projects that need to done. The slower pace of parish life during the summer provides a good time to attend to some projects around our campus. Some refurbishing work at the entry and main floor of the parish office is almost complete. New high efficiency LED lights have been installed in the main parking lot and on the buildings around campus. We were able to remove the row of light poles in the middle of the parking lot and position the light poles around the perimeter of the parking lot. This removed a safety hazard and actually freed up additional parking spaces in the main lot. Another parking lot project gave attention to our storm drains in the lot. Winter ice and snow, along with the salt that is used to tend to the ice and snow have corroded the inside of the drains. Work on rebuilding those drains began last week. Fortunately the rains stopped just in time for this work to begin. Hopefully the interruptions continue to be minimal. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience. Summer is the best time of year to tackle these projects as things do slow down a bit during the summer months.
Will you be away for some much needed vacation time this month? If so, no need to loose contact with your parish family. Our weekly Sunday bulletin is posted online at www.stisidoreparish.org/bulletin . Be sure to check it out on those weekends when you are away from the parish.
We are now into the final month of the summer. The Grade School office has re-opened as they prepare for the beginning of a new school year in just a few short weeks. The Religious Education/Faith Formation office never closed during the summer! We endured a long, cold winter and cooler than normal spring waiting for this summer season of the year. Let’s enjoy it to the full. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy