Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2021: Cover Art, Column

August 1, 2021

18th Sunday in OT

Dear Believers in the Christ,

In today’s gospel, John 6:24-35, Jesus invites us to center our hearts on food that does not perish. His presence as food and drink, reveals to us the mercy of heaven. The Eucharist we all receive changes our lives, our mission as Church, and opens new doors to welcome those God needs the most. God befriends the lost, the weary and the sinner and he truly desires to heal all of us. His food, the Eucharist, reveals the sign of God’s Kingdom here on earth.

Sometimes in our society, we settle for the bottom line. What time do we need to show up? How much does this cost? When does this event end? What can I gain if I meet a stranger? When will I get my share? Tell me what to do so I can get the most benefit with the least amount of input. Tell me why I should care…about anything.

We can easily translate this sense of bottom line in our spiritual lives, especially when it comes to the Eucharist. Does it count if I get to church after the gospel? Can I get the host if I come in at the last minute? If I get the host, then I can go heaven, right? And all I need is to get the host just once a year, right? Do I have to go to confession first so I can earn my place in heaven?

We often want to limit and reduce the God of All Creation, the God of Wonder and Justice, the God of Heaven and Earth, to our timetable on Sunday so we can make a tee time or go to brunch. The Eucharist requires of us to be in relationship with God. Like any relationship, it requires time, intimacy, give and take, showing up and vulnerability. We so often don’t get the results we need in prayer, so we make God an insurance policy at the end of our lives so we know we can go to heaven. Well, if we didn’t want to spend time with God on earth, what makes us think we will enjoy heaven for all eternity? So, we learn to open our hearts, our minds, our souls, here on earth.

The Eucharist is not just meant for personal piety. The Eucharist is meant to transform the world. The grace of our Eternal Father is revealed in the Real Presence of Christ Jesus. We capture a glimpse of the Kingdom in the Eucharist for all humanity. We are now the Body of Christ here on earth becaIf our hearts are open, we see our lives in the glory of God’s love, mercy, and kindness. Receiving the Real Presence of Jesus Christ is not our reward to keeping the rules and regulations of our Church. The Eucharist is for us, who really need God, for those who have been abandoned by life, lost among the fry of injustice, hatred, violence, and sin. In fact, the most broken people among us, know that they need God, and we can all learn what that means when we enter the mystery of our humanity.

The Father reveals the Kingdom in the Breaking of the Bread. God’s food is meant to feed our humanity. We learn how to become more human when we share the Eucharist. We learn that God’s grace is not meant to make us more pious or otherworldly, but we are to learn how to live on this earth in a new reliance on God. In other words, we become people who work for the dignity of all human life, to relieve the suffering of the oppressed, to give food to those starving, to protect our children from violence, abuse, and neglect. The Eucharist is given to us so we can imitate heaven here on earth. The Eucharist reveals our deepest humanity. The Eucharist is a foreshadowing of heaven. If we have a taste of love here on earth, we make recognize God then in all eternity. If we do not know love now, I often wonder how we will know love when we see God face to face.

It is learning to be human that is the key to spiritually. We are not to live as angels here on the earth, this is always impossible. We are created by God to learn what this creation means. We are to enter our deepest longings and desires as human beings. There God meets us, he feeds us and calls us into changing the world. We are to open our hearts, minds, and experiences to what it means to walk on this earth as children of God desiring a better world for the future of all life and all good. Therefore, we always pray for those most in need at Mass, to lift the needs of people so they can capture a glimpse that we believe what we proclaim, that God is here in our midst. The Real Presence is not just on the altar, but in every human life and heart.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

God give you peace,

Fr. Ron

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