20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Fr. Vinner)
CHRIST OFFERS US LIFE THROUGH HIS BODY AND BLOOD
My Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Today is the twentieth Sunday of ordinary time. For a couple of weeks now, our readings especially, the gospels have continued to tell us that Jesus is the bread of life. This is simply to remind us of the importance of the Holy Eucharist in our Christian life. Hence, the church teaches us that: “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and, that unity of the people of God by which the Church is kept in being” (CCC 1325).Eucharist means thanksgiving. So, filled with the Holy Spirit, we give thanks to God for inviting us to share in his wisdom, and in the body and blood of Christ.
In our first reading today, God himself who is Wisdom invites us to his banquet. However, only those who are humble take advantage of this invitation. Those who claim to be already wise cannot understand the mystery and efficacy of the banquet that God has prepared for us. Only those who humble themselves will be given the understanding of this banquet where Christ is both the giver and the gift; the priest and the lamb for the sacrifice.
In today’s gospel when Christ said: “I am the living bread come down from heaven, anyone who eats this bread will live forever…” For this reason, the Jews became angry. The reason is that, they were full of pride and worldly wisdom. They have eyes but they could not actually see. They refused to be fools in order to be made wise in the ways of God. By this, they shut themselves out of the banquet of the body and blood of Christ. At times some of us behave like the Jews. This is by assuming that we can analyze and understand the mystery of the body and blood of Christ with our limited human insight and, the wisdom of this world. Thus saying like the Jews: “How could he give us his body and blood to eat and to drink?”
Hence, Paul warns us today: “Be careful about the sort of lives you live, like intelligent and not senseless people…do not be thoughtless, but recognize the will of the Lord…So that always and every where you are giving thanks to God…” Only intelligent and thoughtful people see Christ in the Holy Eucharist. They are the ones who do not doubt that Christ is the living bread of life. They are the ones who though being ignorant and foolish respond to God’s invitation in order to have life and real wisdom. It is the will of God that we have life in its fullness. This fullness of life is in Christ, the living bread of life.
Dear friends, let us heed this clarion call of God. Let us realize our folly and ignorance. Let us humble ourselves rather than remain stubborn like the Jews and come to the banquet of the body and blood of Christ. Let us stop doubting the real presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist. Instead, let us make efforts to be reconciled to Christ the living bread of life.
I know that some of us have many reasons that seem genuine for staying away from the Holy Eucharist. However, the truth is that, no reason is good enough not to respond to God’s invitation to share from his banquet of life and true wisdom. No reason is good enough not to accept the life that Jesus offers us through his body and blood. All we need is to make efforts, by clearing all the obstacles that block our spiritual eyes, minds, and ways. That is, those obstacles preventing us from receiving the body and blood of Christ. If you still doubt, doubt no more. If you have sinned, seek reconciliation with Christ through the Sacrament of Confession. Once again today, the psalmist tells us: “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”
Life messages: 1: We need to allow our body to be broken and our blood to be shed for others as Jesus did. That is why, at the end of the Mass, we are sent out to announce the Gospel of the Lord by our humble service and exemplary lives, radiating Jesus’ love, mercy, forgiveness and spirit of service all around us. Let us say with Jesus, “This is my Body, which will be given up for you” and “This is the Chalice of My Blood … which will poured out for you “and live out these words by living for others.
2. We need to keep the hunger and thirst for God alive in our hearts: Every human being is blessed with an insatiable longing for God. We want God as our Father to hold us gently in His arms, keeping us safe throughout the dangers we face. But often we use substitutes as an escape from that need: fast living, fast food, fast cars, needless luxuries, unrestricted sexual fulfillment. We demand the right to do whatever we want to do whenever we want. But let us remember the truth that unless we keep the hunger for God strong in our hearts, we will eventually realize the emptiness of our lives without Him.
May God Bless us
FR. S.Vinner HGN