Preparing for Ordinary Sunday 19B

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2009 at 6:51 am

Our Gospel this morning is again part of the lengthy reflection by the Evangelist John on Jesus, the Bread of Life.

It’s a metaphor and reality that clearly Our Lord’s first audience struggled with.  It has resonances backwards into the Old Testament, forwards into the Last Supper and Eucharist, and eternally as a pre-figuring of the Messianic feast.

In the crudest sense, there is truth in the phrase “you are what you eat”.  We have to eat to stay alive, and what we eat is what we build our being out of in the long-run.  What better in substance and symbol than Eucharist?

It is about transformation.  Somehow by participating in this mystery, we are changed.  We incorporate, physically and in mystery, something of the divine within us, and are thus somehow growing in our ability to be in and to be aware of the presence of God.

We are fed, literally and in ways we cannot comprehend.   With food we could never work for or purchase.

None of us “understands” this Sacrament.  That’s why we have recovered the tradition of children receiving Communion after Baptism alone.  Putting pay to any idea that we can only receive after Confirmation, when we’ve worked out exactly what’s going on.

Of course at any age we approach with awe and a sense of the simple profundity of what we are doing.  But really, we only know our hunger and our thirst.
As Rainer Maria Rilke writes,
That’s when I want you—you knower of my emptiness,
you unspeaking partner to my sorrow.
That’s when I need you, God, like food.

This is a dynamic relationship, and while we are physically living, we are offered the mystery and immense gift of connecting, physically, in this Sacrament with the God who seeks us out.

Each of us, in our own way, is invited to respond to this bread and this wine and to utter as we receive, our “Amen”.


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