20 TH SUNDAY OF ORDINARY TIME
We are now at the midpoint of August and summer has flown by and the thoughts of the children and their parents turn towards going back to school at the start of September. Over the next few weeks the preparations will get going and hit fever pitch with the buying of school uniforms and all the other things required for the school going population. This indicates an unending circle from one September to the next, each year being the same with the people involved getting a bit older as time goes by. Also this week the exam results are is for those doing the A levels and next week we have the results for those doing the GCSE exams.
Our Gospel Reading for this Sunday suggests when we take Communion we really are taking real Food and real Drink. The receiving of this gift becomes the acceptance and acknowledgment of the Lord’s care for us and thus, ultimately, the nourishment we need to continue the journey. Sometimes it is not easy to put one foot in front of the other, let alone continue on the journey of faith.
In His book To Live Is to Love, Ernesto Cardenal says, “If in everything you fulfil God’s will rather than your own, every encounter in the street, every telephone call, every letter you receive, will be full of meaning, and you will find that everything has its good reason and obeys a providential design. To “live in love” requires us to be connected to the Love of God. There is one concrete way that the Lord helps us to make this connection that is by providing the Eucharist the bread of Life. In the bread and wine offered at the Eucharist, the risen Lord makes himself present.
While the priest invokes the words of blessing (thus acting as the instrument of Christ or “in persona Christi”), the conversion of the bread and wine into the blood into the Body and Blood of Christ remains the initiative of God (specifically, the Holy Spirit). The offer to partake in the “living bread” is God’s offer of unity with Christ and his followers (his “body,” the Church). The attraction of the Eucharist or Blessed Sacrament is dynamic. Jesus is dynamic.
When we receive communion or when we come to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, we don’t receive an inanimate object. We don’t kneel before a static entity. This is not a crucifix or a statue that reminds us of something. This is Jesus. The One Who Is who was and will be in the future. When we receive communion or come to adoration, we take within ourselves or we come before the dynamic, powerful Presence who speaks to us through the life He has given us. How great is our God. He has found a way for each of us to have continual, intimate encounters with Him. Let us pray, for those whose access to the Gift of the Eucharist or Blessed Sacrament is not so easy whether they have left the faith or perhaps they might be struggling with it or for many they may not yet found it as we remember that Jesus has said ‘I am the Bread of life he who comes to me will never be hungry.’