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August 19, 2018 - True Food, True Drink

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Reading

One of the most difficult things to believe in the Catholic tradition is the belief that the bread and wine at every Eucharist is transformed into the body of blood of Jesus. The difficulty is seen in the statistics. Only 57 percent of Catholics believe that Jesus is truly present in the bread and the wine. Perhaps, we can find some consolation in the fact that we are not alone in our difficulty. Around the end of the 1st Century, John’s community dealt with the same issue. Last week we reflected on Jesus’ words, “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). The people were quick to ask, “"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (Jn 6:52). 

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August 12, 2018 - Bread is Flesh

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Of the all the people in your life, is there one person you love the most? Perhaps, there are a few people who love the most. What could you do for them? Are there any limits to what you can do or be for them? Are there words to describe how much you love them? These are emotional questions, are they not? The reason, I begin with these questions is because today we are going to reflect on Jesus’ love. What does Jesus do? What does Jesus give us? What does it say about God’s love? 

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August 5, 2018 - Bread for the Body and Bread for the Soul

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

For the next three weeks our gospel reading will be taken from chapter six of John’s gospel. Most of this chapter is the bread of life discourse. It began last week with the miracle of the multiplication of loaves and will end with many disciples ceasing to follow Jesus because his teachings were too hard to follow. In between these two events is sandwiched Jesus’s teaching of him as the “bread of that came down from heaven” and him being the “bread of life.” Since we have three weeks to understand every aspect of this teaching, I would like to explore the “Bread of Life Discourse” in some detail. I would like to keep the more strictly Eucharistic themes for the coming weeks. Today, I want to reflect on the more unconventional interpretations Jesus teaching on the bread of life. 

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July 29, 2018 - The Heart & the Hands of Jesus

Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Just down the road from our parish is some land which the Marianists call Mount Saint John.  The other night, as I was there praying I came across a statue of Jesus for the first time.  Jesus’ heart is exposed and his open hands are lifted next to his heart.  He struck me as strong and vulnerable, ready to receive whoever comes and eager to give them whatever he can.  It is an image which I think can help us unpack today’s readings.  Let us consider the heart of Jesus, the hands of Jesus, and Eucharistic life. 

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July 22, 2018 - Gut-Wrenching Merciful Love

Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

The other day, I met with a young mother of three beautiful children. After merely seven years of marriage, she feels abandoned. Now she must file for a divorce for the sake of getting support for her children. While her sadness came from the fact that her marriage was falling apart, she also felt that as a Catholic if she sought for divorce, she would go to hell. She said that her faith in God was completely crushed. She felt abandoned by God. She cried through the entire hour-and-a-half she spent with me.  After much listening and some thought, I invited her to consider God’s presence in her life just a little differently. I said to her, God is not sitting up somewhere these disconnected from you or your life. God has not abandoned you. I said to her that God is beside you, crying with you. As you cry, there are tears in God’s eyes. God cannot forcefully change your husband’s behavior. God can give you the inner strength to go on. Perhaps, this meeting with me is God’s way of caring for you. By the end of the conversation, she was a lot more at peace, even though life ahead seemed to be an uphill climb. But, most of all, she was consoled that she was not going to hell. 

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