19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (August 12, 2012)

Back before we started using the New Missal, and before the demand by our bishops that we dare not change one word, the celebrant had a bit more liberty to use different wording at various places. The rubrics would read: “Using these or similar words …”

That being so, one of my favorite changes was at Communion time. “This is the Lamb of God, our Lord Jesus Christ. This is food and drink for today’s journey.” On Sundays, I would say: “This is food and drink for our journey through life.” I took those words directly from this coming Sunday’s First Reading, where an angel tells a very discouraged Elijah to get up and eat lest the journey be too long.

This is the third Sunday when we hear a section from Chapter 6 of John’s Gospel. First, there was the multiplication of the loaves. Last Sunday was the first time that Jesus proclaimed Himself the Bread of Life, and promised that those who came to Him would never hunger or thirst. This weekend we hear of the crowd’s puzzlement over Jesus’ claim to be the Bread of Life … after all, they knew him and his family. But He goes one step further and says that “the bread that I will give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”

What will this Bread of Life do for us? For sure, as Jesus promised, it will bring us to eternal life. But just as important, it will bring us life on a day-to-day basis, just as it did for Elijah. I believe Paul nails it perfectly in the Second Reading. He encourages the Ephesians to “be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.”

That, my friend, is what the Eucharist will do for us. Without it, our life’s journey is so hard.

Love deeply, pray faithfully, laugh often!!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

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