We are continuing theme of the last few weeks on Eucharist, but in this week's gospel for August 12, 2012, our focus is on how the Eucharist points to the resurrection. Jesus says, "I am the living bread come down from heaven, whoever eats this bread will live forever." Our Discussion Questions will guide your Sunday Bible Study with family, friends and church groups.
They Murmured, They Grumbled
people listening to Jesus were peeved by his claim. They knew his
family and where he came from. So, the thought of his coming down from
heaven made no sense at all. Obviously, they were thinking purely on the
surface level. Thus, they failed to understand. They missed to see the
hand of God unfolding a mystery about him. But unknown to them, Fr.
Omer Prieto explains, the very thing they were seeking was right in their midst.
In some ways, perhaps in many ways, we act the same like those ancient Israelites.
We murmur. We grumble. We forget that we have been gifted with the
Eternal Positive. Fr. Joseph Pellegrino points out that the eternal Word
has become one of us. He who for all eternity is in intimate union
with divinity, shares His life with us.
The Father Makes the Offer
Today Jesus makes this statement, "I am the Bread that came down from
heaven." Fr. Phil Bloom says this statement speaks to Jesus' purpose,
what he intends to do for us. He comes with a purpose - to bring us into a relationship with his Father. "Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him, comes to me."
the old saying goes: “Believe first, then you’ll understand.” You and I
are created in the image of God with gifts of freedom and
understanding. The Father makes the offer by drawing people to Jesus.
With this initiative from God, people still have freedom to accept it or
to reject it. But we have to be still and quiet to allow the words of
Jesus to draw us to Himself. Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS says we tend to believe that people can be pushed into faith – or, at least, pushed towards it. But it doesn't work that way.
The Eucharist is God’s kiss.
That’s an image for the Eucharist. prescribed by Fr. Ron Rolheiser.
There comes a point, even with God, when words aren’t enough. God has to
pick us up, like a mother to her child. Physical embrace is what’s
needed. Skin needs to be touched. God knows that. It’s why Jesus gave us
the Eucharist. So how can we respond? Fr. John Foley, S. J. says receiving the living bread in Communion is a beginning.
Reflecting on the mellowness of God is another. And simply slowing
down. Stop running away and let the Lord find you. God’s kindhearted and
also tough love is quite worth the struggle.
Being the Bread of Life
in this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus indicates two important moments of his
being the Bread of Life. The first is the supreme sacrifice of himself
in Calvary for the life of the world. The second is the Holy Eucharist,
which he instituted at the Last Supper so that the fruits of His
Sacrifice on the Cross would be constantly offered in the Church to all
peoples for the life of the world. Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB urges us to
pray that our sharing in the Eucharistic bread and wine may transform us
more and more into what we eat and drink, and that we might truly become living bread, broken and shared with all people.
"Eat my body. Drink my blood." is not just another metaphor.
Fr. James Gilhooley explains that when Jesus said, 'I am the vine,' He
didn't tell us to eat twigs. When He told us, 'I am the light of the
world,' He didn't tell us to eat light bulbs. But when He said, 'I am
the bread of life,' He said, 'Eat this bread.'
And this food which we receive, however insubstantial it seems, is a
direct communion with our loving Saviour and more nourishing that
anything we are ever likely to get elsewhere. Through it we find the
inspiration and the strength and the fellowship to renew our Christian
lives. So what was once for us an obligation,
Fr. Alex McAllister SDS points out, is now a celebration and an
inextricable part of our lives. But, Fr. Phil Bloom warns us, we must
watch out for hasty familiarity. He says it can affect the way we approach Jesus in the Eucharist. Thus, Father Cusick reminds us, we begin eternity today by kneeling in worship of our Incarnate God present in all the tabernacles of the world.
And remember what St Francis de Sales famously said, "Only two kinds of
people need frequent Communion - the not so good that they might become
better and the good that they might stay that way."
Religious Freedom - the Struggle Continues
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chair of the U.S. bishops’ Committee on
Pro-Life Activities, reiterated today that the HHS mandate is
'misguided' policy. He called on Congress to address the crisis in health care sparked by the Obama administration’s contraceptive-sterilization coverage mandate.
From the Vatican the pope sent a message to the Knights of Columbus assembled in Anaheim, CA this week. Benedict XVI once again united himself with the battle underway in the United States
against the "unprecedented gravity of these new threats to the
Church’s liberty and public moral witness:" Cardinal Timothy Dolan on
Tuesday also addressed the same supreme convention of the Knights of
Columbus, and took the occasion to praise the knights and their wives for the way they live the sacrament of marriage.
Meanwhile, Catholics in the Philippines are waging their own battle for faith and conscience.
Despite protests from the bishops' conference, the Philippine Congress
has ended debates on the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) Bill.
While a final approval of the bill has not been reached, the move will
allow for amendments of the bill to be enacted. The Reproductive Health
bill would allow for universal access to contraceptives and birth
control devices. The bill would also enforce "sexual education" on
children starting at the 5th grade level.
And More on the Olympics
the Olympics, we wonder who will win. With movies we wonder what will
happen. With mystery novels, we have to know, “Who dunnit?” Just what can the Olympics coverage teach us about Evangelization?
It is about grabbing attention. Often through emotional appeal. Then
once you get them curious, you back it up with the facts.Too often, we
want to lead with the facts. An evangelizing catechist knows the real
trick is first convincing people they need what we’re teaching.
We share the stories of two Olympians. First is about newly minted Olympic champion Missy Franklin of Denver who is thinking about becoming Catholic.
I have presumed she was Catholic and noted that one of her first
comments after winning a gold medal last night was to thank God. For
this, we have to thank her Jesuit high school which was primarily
responsible for rousing her spiritual interest. And then we bring you
the story of Mario Ancic. In 2006 he was already an Olympic bronze
medalist, a Wimbledon semifinalist and Davis Cup champion. However, just
when things looked brightest, in 2007 a mysterious illness took hold
of Ancic, and he spent the next few years trying to overcome it. It was
this Illness and injury that helped him realize identity as child of God.
And have you heard the story of how a Catholic Emeperor banned the Olympic Games? Here it is.
Saints, Italy and Online Distractions
The votes are in. And here are the saints Catholic Exchange readers nominated for being the most influential of their time—the results contained quite a few surprises. Check out the list.
For years Jennifer Fulwiler has been trying to figure out how to reap
the benefits of new technology without having texting and internet use
become black holes that suck in too much time and attention. She's been
trying all sorts of steps to find balance in this area of life, and
have stumbled across a few that have actually led to lasting, positive
changes. Here are the top four that she found to be most helpful.
are supposed to serve each other and when Katie Sciba married Andrew,
she vowed to make service to his soul her life’s work. The easiest and
happiest parts of their life together have always been when they give
of themselves freely and happily in sacrificial service. What she
failed to consider until this point – amid the humming motors and the
baby crying and the nag to go inside – was how important it is to let your spouse serve you.
And this must be similar to the emotions Cheryl Dickow felt towards
her husband. There were two places she has always wanted to travel to
in her lifetime: Israel and Italy. Italy became a reality after years
of saving; it was our 25th wedding anniversary destination. She shares the mixed bag of emotions she felt as she watched her loving husband prepare her for the trip.
Finally, Consider it your star-spangled bucket list. Think you know
America's essential sights? Compare your past trips with Sean O'Neill
picks for 20 domestic destinations every citizen should visit from pop culture icons to patriotic landmarks.
Another eventful week in our Catholic World. Have a great and blessed new week.
Keep the Faith. Peace.
Publisher & Editor in chief
BURNING QUESTION: Half a Eucharist?
FEATURED BLOG: 20 places every American should see
PASTORAL HISPANA: La Eucaristia es el pan que da la vida
Post a comment.
Follow us on Twitter
Click Here to receive a FREE SUBSCRIPTION to this weekly email