Saturday, August 15, 2015

I am the Bread of Life



GOSPEL REFLECTION: 20th Sunday In Ordinary Time (B)
by Rev. Fr. Allen Baclor Abadines


READINGS:

First Reading: Proverbs 9:1-6

Reading 1 PRV 9:1-6

Wisdom has built her house,
she has set up her seven columns;
she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,
yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidens; she calls
from the heights out over the city:
“Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding.”

Responsorial Psalm: Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Responsorial Psalm PS 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Second Reading: Ephesians 5:15-20


Reading 2 EPH 5:15-20

Brothers and sisters:
Watch carefully how you live,
not as foolish persons but as wise,
making the most of the opportunity,
because the days are evil. 

Therefore, do not continue in ignorance,
but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.
And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery,
but be filled with the Spirit,
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,
giving thanks always and for everything
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Reading 2 EPH 5:15-20

Brothers and sisters:
Watch carefully how you live,
not as foolish persons but as wise,
making the most of the opportunity,
because the days are evil. 
Therefore, do not continue in ignorance,
but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. 
And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery,
but be filled with the Spirit,
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,
giving thanks always and for everything
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Alleluia JN 6:56
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GOSPEL: John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the people: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever: and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."

The people then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in them.

"Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever."
The Gospel of the Lord: Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.



REFLECTION:
Story: A little boy was preparing for his First Communion. In one of their seminars , the Priest explained to the children the importance of the Eucharist. The Priest said to them that 'whoever receives the Body of Christ will go to heaven and will live forever.' Although the parents of that little boy were Catholics but they were not good at practicing their faith. They did not go to Church on Sundays to receive the Holy Communion. And the little boy was aware of that. And so when the little boy got home, he talked to his parents. He said, "Mom , Dad, today the Priest explained to us the importance of the Holy Communion. He said that receiving Communion will give us eternal life, it will take a person to Heaven one day. On Sunday, I will be receiving Communion for the very first time. I want you to receive Communion with me. If I am going to Heaven, I want you to come with me. I don't want to go there alone by myself." That day the parents went to the Priest for Confession and the next Sunday, they received Communion with their son. Since then on , they went to Church on Sundays as a family to receive Jesus , the Bread of Life. All because of the request of their only son.

It has been for the past several Sundays that our Liturgy is inviting us to reflect on the Bread of Life Discourse of our Lord Jesus. This Gospel text is of utmost importance that is why for several weeks now we are being invited to reflect on this teaching of our Lord about him being the Bread of Life. And in today's Gospel, St. John relates to us that Jesus' listeners were once again stunned at his teachings. Jesus said that one day he will give them a special bread and that in reality this bread is his own flesh. And so the people reacted and said, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus knew that it won't be easy for the people to simply accept this teaching. There are people who expressed doubts in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. It has been a challenge , even among us Catholics. To some people it is irrational to think that bread changes to become the body of Jesus. 

But in order for us to believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist we have to look not just with our eyes but with the eyes of faith . And to comprehend not only with our mind but with our heart. At the Last Supper, Jesus said "This is my Body, This is my Blood." Now, we know that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist flesh and blood, soul and divinity.
Every time we celebrate the Eucharist we are actually contemplating on God's saving love for his people. Jesus in his love for us, sacrificed himself on the Cross and likewise offered himself to us in the Eucharist to be our food , giving us strength that we may win heaven someday. Our pope, Pope Francis said, "The whole journey of life is a journey of preparation for heaven." Heaven is home, it is our ultimate goal. When Jesus said that he is giving us his 'flesh and blood', it means that he is giving himself totally to us. God loves us so much that he wants us to dwell with him for eternity. John 14:3 "I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, so where I am you shall be also."

When we receive the Holy Eucharist we allow ourselves to be transformed. A frequent reception of Communion will eventually make us more and more like Jesus. We become more giving like our Lord Jesus did. We become more forgiving as Jesus forgives. With humility there's an urge for us to serve as our Lord humbly served. And most specially we become more loving as Jesus loves.



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