A word from Pope Francis ~ “Our challenge today is to build on those solid foundations and to foster a sense of collaboration and shared responsibility in planning for the future of our parishes and institutions.”
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 has been our custom to provide the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration every First Friday of the month – beginning immediately after the 7:00am morning Mass, then pausing to celebrate the daily 12:05pm Mass, and then resume throughout the afternoon, overnight, and then conclude with Benediction at 8:00am Saturday morning. Often funerals, or Friday weddings and wedding rehearsals interrupt adoration time. Those interruptions will cease with the addition of our Perpetual Adoration Chapel on our campus. We are in the final planning stages for this chapel and have scheduled a “Ground Breaking Ceremony” for Saturday, August 25th at 4:15pm. We will gather at the site just to the north of the Narthex area of the main church in the area outside the north exit door near the Music Office and the Cry Room. The ceremony will take place prior to our regular Saturday 5:00pm Mass. We anticipate construction beginning in early September with a completion by Christmas. All are welcome to join us for the launching of this special addition to our parish.
This Monday, 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.
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. And we remember in prayer all those who are traveling at this time of year. May God continue to bless us with all that we need, and more.
Father Jim Murphy