- Category: brdaniel
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- Written by Br. Daniel Thomas, OP
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Nineteenth Sunday of the Church year.
Saint for the day: St. Michael My (died: 1838)
I Kings 19:4-8
“I am the Bread that came down from Heaven. I am the Bread of Life!” (today’s Gospel)
Today’s Gospel – the Gospel of John – is filled with these “I Am” statements: “I am The Way; I Am The Truth; I Am The Bread of Life etc.,” all of which flash his hearers all the way back to the beginning of the Bible when Moses asks God, “Who shall I say sent me?” And the Voice of God replies, “Tell them I AM who AM sent you.”
This claim of Jesus was the source of much of his difficulty in getting his message across to the people who would never dare to even say the name of God much less claim that they were from God.
All the people around Jesus during His public ministry knew the story of the Israelites wandering in the desert and the way God provided “manna” from Heaven for them to eat. They also knew how disgruntled the Israelites got with “this wretched food!” And now, Jesus is telling them, “I am the true Bread come down from Heaven. Eat this Bread and you will never die!”
Here is yet another claim that people are going to have a hard time accepting. And, in some sense, we are very much like those same people who lived and walked with Jesus. How can he make such claims when we have seen faithful Catholics who were daily communicants who also died!
So we have to define what it means to “live forever!”
When Jesus suffered and died on the Cross most of his disciples thought it was all over. Yet, true to His promise, He broke through the chains of death and was resurrected. The key to this resurrected Jesus wasn’t that He just came back like He was before. We’re told in the many accounts of His appearances after the resurrection that He was somehow different. He was otherworldly in a totally different form of life. So, His promise that “we will live forever” is a promise that we will live in a new way. A way that is not confined to our understanding life. That’s perhaps why our St. Catherine of Siena can say, “It’s Heaven all the way to Heaven!” Just as Jesus was – after His Resurrection – somehow different yet somewhat the same we too should begin that transformation with our reception of Holy Communion – the Bread of Life. Don’t let “Ho-humness” rob you of the reality of receiving the Resurrected Jesus when you come forward to receive Holy Communion. You SHALL live forever. Amen!
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