A word from Pope Francis ~ “Happiness ultimately never depends on material possessions, or even on success in life. It stems from the inner knowledge that you are who God wants you to be, that you are doing what he wants you to do.”
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,” and the Gospel according to Mark, we take a mid-summer break to read 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 by pointing 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 God provided 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.
Two years ago during the summer of 2019 we were building our Eucharistic Adoration Chapel addition to the main church. As we came for Sunday Mass week after week, we could see the progress as the addition went up. Construction was completed in the fall and we blessed and dedicated this addition to our church on November 2, 2019. If you are looking for some time alone with the Lord, stop by the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel. It is open throughout the day and can be accessed in the evening and overnight with a key card. Quiet time with the Lord can be a wonderful way to keep our balance at busy times.
We are in the process of launching a new online cohort entitled, “GrowYourFaith Cohort.” Videos from Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire will be provided to those who join the cohort on a weekly basis. The first series will be the 10 episodes of Bishop Barron’s series “Catholicism.” Weekly episodes will be sent to cohort members every Wednesday morning beginning August 4th and can be viewed at any time. Viewers are encouraged to share their own reflections and questions in the comment section of each episode. Since the parish has already subscribed to Word on Fire ENGAGE, there is no cost to join the cohort. Please join our cohort by following the link – https://isidore.flocknote.com/GrowYourFaithCoh. Additional questions may be directed to Tom Norton or Leonor Carvajal.
This Friday, August 6th, we celebrate the 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 re-opens on Monday as they prepare for the beginning of a new school year in just a few short weeks. The Religious Education/Faith Formation office has been open all 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