Friday, August 17, 2012

Sunday August 19th Reflection

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time Reflection By Rev. Fr. Bob Johnnene OFD Mission Saints Sergius & Bacchus/ Franciscans of Divine Mercy National Catholic Church of America This past Wednesday, I began the ninth year since my ordination as a priest, a gift from God that I never anticipated at such a late time in my life. I felt truly blessed when in 1980 I was ordained a deacon so when I received the news that I would be ordained a priest I was overwhelmed with joy at the greatest blessing that God bestows on any human, the very special gift to consecrate simple bread and wine into the body and blood of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This honor from God, being among the precious few chosen to carry on the instructions of Christ to His apostles “As often as you do this you do so in commemoration of me” is both humbling and awe-inspiring. Because this gift means so much to me I want to share my thoughts with you and also continue to enumerate just how special the Eucharist is for sustaining us in our relationship with God and the need for us to avail ourselves of every opportunity to partake of it. Christ, Himself has said; “I myself am the bread of life, no one who come to me shall ever be hungry” This week’s Gospel begins with the same words that ended last week’s Gospel; “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” The Church want to make perfectly clear that The Eucharist is the greatest physical gift that God, in the person of His beloved Son, Jesus Christ has provided us. It is a gift for all persons, not just the rich and famous, but for all who desire to come to the table and partake of the body and blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Christ told us he came to bring us a new covenant, He told us that He was the sacrificial Lamb; It is His blood that set us free from the bondage of sin. Even the words that Jesus spoke and we proclaim at every liturgy of the Eucharist “Blessed are you O Lord our God, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth” in Hebrew (Barukh ata Adonay, Elohenu, melekh ha olam, Ha motzi lechem min ha aretz) are the words Jesus spoke. When Jesus took the bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to His apostles saying, “This is my Body, take and eat” and the wine “This is my Blood, the Blood of the new covenant, it will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Do this is remembrance of me” He became the sacrificial lamb of the Passover. Every time we partake in the Eucharistic Celebration we are reliving the Passover Celebration, we are carrying our Christ’s command to celebrate “The memorial feast of our redemption”, It is most unfortunate that our English language does not really convey very well the true biblical meaning of memorial (anamnesis {GREEK} - Zikkaron {Hebrew}. Like the Jewish people today who faithfully follow the old covenant made by Moses with God, We, by participating in the Eucharistic Liturgy, personally die and rise with Christ and we become redeemed together with Him. The Eucharist provides us with the strength to overcome the many temptations that plague us every day. When we combine the Eucharist with frequent prayer (conversations with God), we become one with Christ. Our society today has distanced itself in many ways from not only the teachings of Christ but also from devotion and in too many cases even faith that there is a God. Those of us who continue to love God and worship God need to try, by our example to awaken in others the knowledge of God’s infinite mercy and love and inspire them to return to a life that reflects God’s teachings especially in matters of compassion for the elderly, sick, homeless, unemployed by sharing their God given gifts with those in need and making sure that governments treat All their citizens with justice and equality. It is only through frequent partaking of the bread of life, given to us by Jesus Christ in the Eucharist when he said; “Take, eat, This is my body” “As often as you do this you do so in remembrance of me”, that we can strengthen our ability to repel he temptations that surround us and live as Jesus taught us. AMEN

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