Search This Blog

Get into the ring! How this works...

This is easy! Each week on Thursday I post my homily main focus for preaching this coming Sunday. What I am hoping for is a reaction from people in the pews. Does my "focus" connect with your daily life, faith, and experience? Or not? Either affirm the direction I am going in (by giving me an example from your life) or challenge me, ask for clarification! Questions are the best! Reaction rather than reflection is what I'm looking for here. Don't be afraid, get in the ring. Ole!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bread from Heaven - August 12 Prep

-Last Sunday's homily is available by email
-This Sunday's Scriptures can be found at>
-I will be celebrating mass this weekend at 12:30 Mass


As we continue this series of homilies regarding the bread of life discourse, the third theme that we have identified is "bread from heaven". The first theme( the gathering assembly) and the second ( table fellowship) bring us to a fascinating aspect of St. John's Gospel: the double entendre. St. John's Gospel in its entirety and then in particular scenes and sections is using the language and imagery of one reality or level while it can be interpreted and should be completely on a second (a court trial vs. revelation of salvation; this world vs. the kingdom; light and darkness; sight and blindness; you will live vs. they are dead)

In the bread of life discourse we hear this type of speech and interpretation used by Jesus. Especially around the notion of hunger and feeding. In today's theme of the bread from heaven Jesus is using imagery and reality from the Hebrew Scriptures. As the Jews ate manna in the desert, bread come down from heaven, they died. His followers have pursued him not because of the sign that he worked but because they have had their fill of the bread-the loaves. That means that it is entirely possible to be eating the bread from heaven, who is Jesus, and to eat in the wrong way-Thus, to die

For what are we hungry when we come to table fellowship with Jesus? If in fact we understand the Eucharist to be miraculous bread from God only, we may be hungering and desiring it for an incomplete reason. Hungering for miraculous grace from God might be a very self centered religious activity. as usual, with us human beings, it is all about "me".

Following the themes of this series we would be encouraged to see, rather, that we the Body of Christ ourselves head and members gather and constitute the "whole Christ" coming to offer praise and sacrifice to the Father in the power of the Spirit. In that sacramental meal we find and receive communion with God's life and love and we are deepened in our communion with eternity..

In this case then the bread from heaven, is not something we hunger for in order to remedy our personal, worldly concerns. Rather, the bread from heaven is that graceful pathway to knowing ourselves in God AS the Body of Christ and remaining IN God as we journey in the world. We do not hunger for and consume the bread from heaven in order to have a successful, pain-free, problem free life in the world. Rather we come to celebrate and eat the bread from heaven so that we might know and cling to the hand of God which is extended to us in Jesus Christ now and unto eternity - a path to communion with God's saving love

So, for what are we hungering? Relief in our troubles, to fill our bellies with God's miraculous antidote? Or are we hungering for heaven itself and recognize such "communion" in the bread we eat who is Jesus Christ?

Do you come to church hungry at all? Have you ever come to church expecting and demanding to be fed for the wrong hungering?


JoyFuralle said...

This is really tough to comment on, Father. I understand what you are saying, but how can one judge how one is living it out? Maybe it's better that I will constantly doubt myself & be suspicious or skeptical.

I have definitely been at these stages. And I pray to God I don't backslide for whatever reason or circumstance. Not that I knew it at the time (this is the part that is such mystery, being clueless!!!), but I have been hungering in many ways and through different times in my life. Just didn't realize it or pay attention deeply enough to discover what was eating me! And then of course what I thought I was hungering for left me feeling let down by Church or community or life or family members, even myself. Because it was all about me.

BUT, from the positive side, God used all these situations to lead me, to feed me and to show me what I'm really hungering for. I trust He will continue.

Faith said...

I do come to church hungry! Sometimes it's with more of an urgency than others, but always it is with a hunger. When I am particularly troubled, I hunger for God's reassurance; and in times of loneliness, I hunger for His love. While I know God is present in all of life, during liturgy I do find it easier to rest in the palm of His hand, and I always hunger for that peace.

I remember at the time my mother passed away and I felt starving for her presence, I found it most comforting to go to Mass, where communion with her soul and all those who have gone before us seemed especially accessible to me through the love of Jesus Christ.

I particularly like this line Matador - "Rather we come to celebrate and eat the bread from heaven so that we might know and cling to the hand of God which is extended to us in Jesus Christ now and unto eternity - a path to communion with God's saving love." Please give me some of that food!