“RELIGION THAT IS pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to care for orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
Why is it so hard for us to accept the teachings of Jesus? In general, it is not easy to accept some new ideas or thoughts, whether they pertain to religious, social or political matters. For instance, the first part of the second reading (Ephesians 5:22-24) is hard for many Christians to accept.
The first and second readings encourage us to turn away from the things that do not nourish and sustain us, and to turn toward the divine source. From the Book of Wisdom we read that Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns. Biblical scholars consider these seven columns as seven sacraments. The invitation to come and eat the food and drink the wine refers to a special banquet, the Holy Eucharist.
IN LAST WEEK’S Gospel, we heard Jesus saying that He was the bread of life. The people with Him at that point most likely had no idea what He was talking about. How could this possibly make sense? The people got confused.
LAST SUNDAY WE meditated on the feeding of a hundred people with 20 barley loaves and the miraculous feeding of 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. This weekend, we also read and meditate upon the same theme of bread. From the first reading we hear about God feeding the people of Israel. God provides for them food by sending manna from heaven. The Gospel passage explains about Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life.
If the Eucharist is merely a symbol – a nice thing to show community and unity among people – then we, as Catholics, are wasting our time.
by Father John P. Cush, STD
FOR THOSE OF us who are priests, the first reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah should strike a chord. It should put more than a little bit of fear into our hearts. The prophet writes:
So, the Lord Jesus, in sending out His disciples two-by-two, is testing them in many ways. If they – very different men, with very different personalities and very different ideas perhaps on how to spread this Gospel message – can survive each other, then they can handle anything that the world, the flesh, and the devil can throw their way.
What’s the best way we can remedy all this close-mindedness in our relationships with the Lord, our Blessed Mother, the Church and with our brothers and sisters in the world today? I would submit that we could begin with being open to all the richness and beauty that surround us in the world and the Church, in our spiritual lives and active lives. The world is a beautiful place, filled with the goodness of God shining forth in the faces around us.
Do we believe that Jesus wants to heal us? We should because He does! Do we believe that Jesus loves us enough to help us? We should because He does! Do we believe that we are worthy to be helped by Jesus? We should because He does!