August 5th, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today is one of those Sundays where the sacred texts come together to form an almost perfect collage. We begin with the book of Exodus about eleven or twelve hundred years before the birth of Jesus. The chosen people have been wandering in the desert slowly making their way towards the land that had been promised them by Yahweh. The people are complaining about inadequate food supplies and the Lord directs Moses to tell them that He will now feed them with bread from heaven and a miraculous form of bread will descend from the skies.
Over a thousand years later, Jesus finds himself in a similar situation. He is confronted by many critics demanding a sign as to who he was. Jesus makes an awesome promise; namely, that their forefathers had consumed bread from heaven while starving in the desert, but that source of food satisfied only for a few hours. Hunger returned quickly. Jesus then said an amazing thing.
“It is my father who gives you the real heavenly bread. God’s bread comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
He then goes on to say,
“I, myself, am the bread of life. No one who comes to me shall ever be hungry. No one who believes in me shall thirst again.”
Baptism gave us a sharing in the life of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist nourishes that life as we journey towards our eternal destiny.
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Third Sunday of Easter
We are moving forward into the joyful Easter season. First we celebrated the Resurrection itself, then we turned our attention to the infinite forgiveness that is always available to us. In today’s Gospel, we begin for the first time to see the beginnings of a functioning Church. The story is the magnificent excerpt from Luke’s Gospel in which on the first Easter Sunday afternoon two of Jesus’ disciples, not apostles, were leaving Jerusalem and headed towards the village of Emmaus. Naturally, they were talking about the recent events regarding the tragedy of Jesus’ suffering and death.
These two men had heard about the empty tomb but they had not as yet gotten their minds around the reality of the Resurrection. Luke describes this delightful scene where Jesus places himself in a catechetical position instructing these two men as to prophecies of the Old Testament and how they were now being fulfilled. When they reached the village of Emmaus the guys prevailed on Jesus to stop and stay with them. They settled down in the little café in the inn and Jesus takes bread, prays over it and when he does that the men recognize him. At that point, he disappears. Racing back into town, they tell others that they have seen the Lord and then this wonderful sentence – “How they had come to know him in the breaking of the bread.”
That is the joy of Sunday Mass! We come to know him in the breaking of the bread.
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