Thursday, July 30, 2009

"I am the bread of life"

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (18B)
Issue Date: August 2, 2009

BURNING QUESTION: Who Can Receive Communion?
FEATURED BLOG: 9 Tips for Spiritual Dry Spells
VOCATION NEWS: Pope Explains How to Help Jesus
PASTORAL HISPANA: Cada domingo hagamos de la misa una gran fiesta con Jesús

Dear Friends,

In this Sunday's Readings, the crowds again follow Jesus this time after partaking in the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Jesus reprimanded them for requiring more miracles of Him so that they can believe in him. Then he tells them, "I am the bread of life." Our Discussion Questions will help guide your bible study sessions this week.

The heart of the apostasy that this story reflects, according to Fr. Orly Sapuay, is that people have virtually become gods in themselves before whom the real God must authenticate Himself to win their allegiance. Father Cusick says mankind has changed so little since. Many people are indifferent to Christ today just as they were when he walked the earth almost 2,000 years ago. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino brings the discussions home by asking us what makes a person a true member of a Catholic parish? Deeper than this, he asks what makes a person a Christian?

THE BREAD OF LIFE. Fr. John Foley, SJ notes that there is so much failure in our lives even though we pretend otherwise. In order not to starve, we must accept the real food that God sends us, the Bread of life and the Cup of Salvation. Jesus, Lord. Fr. Demetrius Dumm reminds us that the Eucharist does not nourish us spiritually simply by the action of receiving it. There must also be a firm intention to change one’s life. So Fr. Richard Lifrak challenges us, do we really believe that Jesus is the Bread of Life more than anything else that we could aspire to experience or possess? Fr. Thomas Rosica also puts out his own challenge: Does our participation in the celebration of the Eucharist transform us into people of gratitude, loving kindness and justice?

The bread of life satisfies. And Dr. Marcellino d'Ambrosio reminds us that we were made for it. In Jesus we become part of the chosen people and as part of that people, Jesus satisfies our hunger. Fr. Phil Bloom tells us that we do not create that community. Jesus does. And we are called individually by name. Fr. Ron Rolheiser says hearing God pronounce our names in love is the core of mysticism and is the anchor we need when we face difficulties.

Last year at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec, Canada, Philippine Bishop Louis Tagle delivered this remarkable catechesis on the Eucharist: "Eucharistic adoration is similar to standing at the foot of the Cross of Jesus, being a witness to his sacrifice of life and being renewed by it. The sacrifice or spiritual worship of Jesus on the cross is his supreme act of adoration."

CATHOLIC NEWS. Benedict XVI said this week that God's omnipotence - particularly expressed in his mercy and goodness - is nothing to fear, since he is the safeguard of our freedom. He also preached that with their human weaknesses, priests can become instruments of salvation by putting themselves into the hands of Christ. And on the feast of Sts. Joachim and Anne this week, parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus, he asked the faithful to pray for grandparents, "who in families are often the witnesses of the fundamental values of life." Finally he shared this week that his "guardian angel" let him down when he fell and broke his wrist earlier this month, but that the angel was clearly acting "on superior orders." "Perhaps the Lord wanted to teach me more patience and humility," the pope added.

WORLD HUNGER AND SPIRITUAL DRY SPELLS. The miracle of the loaves and fishes also serves to remind us of the issue of world hunger in our very own midst. Paul Dion, STL serves up his reflection on the topic. He calls it "Let 'em eat dogfood!" And it seems that many people are going through spiritual dry spells lately. In case it's helpful to anyone, here's a list of nine tips to deal with spiritual dryness. We also bring you one person's personal story: "How The Catholic Faith Got Me Sober." A housewife shares her reflection on St. Martha, patron saint of housewives. And finally, when things in your lives seem almost too much to handle, remember the story of the mayonnaise jar and the 2 cups of coffee.

STRONG TEETH AND ORGANIC VEGETABLES. For years, dentists have warned patients about the decaying effects of cola and sugary, fizzy drinks on their teeth. New research shows that other drinks thought to be better - fruit juices, teas and energy drinks - can also have harmful effect on teeth. And if you're a fan of the more expensive organic produce, another new study declares that there is little difference in nutritional value and no evidence of any extra health benefit between organic and regular produce. And in today's belt tightening times, why not save the extra money and use it for other things?

Another event-filled week in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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