From the Pastor's Desk

How does receiving Jesus in the Eucharist strengthen me on my journey? When have I needed a second nudge to go on?

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

We are living in a world where people of all races and creeds hunger more for spiritual sustenance than for physical food. In response to the spiritual hunger of people in his own day, “Jesus proclaims Himself to be “the Bread of Life that came down from Heaven" and feeds them with His words”.

The first reading describes the physical and spiritual hungers experienced by the prophet Elijah. The Bread of Life Jesus speaks about is prefigured in this reading by the miraculous food with which the angel nourished the Prophet Elijah in the desert while he was fleeing from the soldiers of Queen Jezebel. After being nourished by the Lord, Elijah was strengthened for the long journey of “forty days and forty nights,” to Mount Horeb where God instructed Elijah to continue his prophetic work.

The second reading presents Christ Jesus, the “Bread of Life,” as a “sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.” Paul reminds the Ephesian Christians that, instead of seeking satisfaction in the stale food of anger, slander, bitterness, and malice, they are to nourish one another with the spiritual food of compassion, kindness and mutual forgiveness.

Today’s Gospel describes Jesus’ discourse in the synagogue at Capernaum on his return there after his miraculous feeding of the five thousand. During the discourse, Jesus reveals himself as the true “Bread of Life that came down from Heaven,” to give life to the world. Jesus proclaims that it is He himself, the Incarnate Son of God, who is the new and perfect manna, literally "come down from Heaven." This means that in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus gives us a share of eternal life while we are still on earth. But some of Jesus' followers turn away when Jesus explains the Source of His mysterious power and Heavenly origin.

Life message

1) Let us accept the challenge to become bread and drink for others: "You are what you eat?” Let us recognize that Jesus whom we consume in the Holy Eucharist is actually God Who assimilates us into His being. Thus, from Sunday to Saturday we will grow into Jesus, as Jesus grows in us, our lives will be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, and we will become more like Jesus. In this way, we shall share in the joyous and challenging life of being the Body of Christ for the world – Bread for a hungry world, and Drink for those who thirst for justice, peace, fullness of life, and even eternal life. In other words, the Eucharist challenges us to sacrifice ourselves for others, as Christ has done for each of us.

2: Let us appreciate Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist: Since the Holy Eucharist is "the Body and Blood, together with the soul and Divinity, of our Lord, Jesus Christ,” the Sacrament a) increases our intimate union with Christ; b) preserves, increases, and renews the Sanctifying Grace we received at Baptism; c) cleanses us of past sin and preserves us from future sins; d) strengthens the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Charity in us, thus enabling us to be separated from our disordered attachments and to be rooted in Christ; and e) unites us more deeply with the mystery of the Church

The “Bread from Heaven” vs. the hamburger from Mc Donald’s: In 1968, McDonald's operated about 1,000 restaurants. Today it has about 23,000 restaurants worldwide and opens roughly 2,000 new ones each year. An estimated one of every eight Americans has worked at McDonald's. The company annually trains more new workers than the U.S. Army. McDonald's is the nation's largest purchaser of beef and potatoes. It is the second-largest purchaser of poultry. A whole new breed of chicken was developed to facilitate the production of McNuggets. The McDonald's Corp. is the largest owner of retail property in the world. Indeed, the company earns the majority of its profits not from selling food but from collecting rent. McDonald's spends more money on advertising and marketing, much of it targeted at children, than does any other brand. A survey of American schoolchildren found that 96 percent could identify Ronald McDonald. The only fictional character with a higher degree of recognition was Santa Claus. The impact of McDonald's on the nation's culture, economy and diet is hard to overstate. Its corporate symbol - the Golden Arches - is now more widely recognized than the Christian cross.

Fr. Gus. MS, Pastor