Celebrate Sunday Mass - 8.1.21

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8/1/2021 (4 months ago)

By Deacon Keith Fournier

AUGUST 1, 2021, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Dear Catholic Online Community and Catholic Online School students...

I AM HAPPY TO OFFER EACH OF YOU AN INVITATION TO SUNDAY MASS ON THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY in OORDINARY TIME in the Catholic Diocese of Tyler. The response to offering these liturgies online has been overwhelming. The readings, as always, offer so much for us to reflect on. It is helpful to pray through them and reflect upon them before we assist at Holy Mass.

In our first reading from the Book of Exodus, the people of Israel had been miraculously led out of captivity in Egypt, through the Red Sea. The Egyptians had been defeated and thrown into the sea. But, already, the Israelite community began grumbling again - because they did not have enough food! 

They say to Moses and Aaron "...Why did we not die at Yahweh's hand in Egypt, where we used to sit round the flesh pots and could eat to our heart's content? As it is, you have led us into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death!" 

Yet the Lord, who is so rich in Mercy, does not grow angry with them. He gives them another miracle. He provides Manna from heaven to feed them. That was not all. He also sent quail so they would have meat! Upon seeing the manna, they said to Moses, "What is this?" Moses answered, "this is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat". In fact, the very word manna means "What is this?"

Not only was this a physical miracle, it also a symbol and figure of the true Bread from heaven which would come, centuries later, in Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. He is the living Bread from heaven. He is the Bread of Life. In Him the Father has given us the fullness of His provision. 

Yet, like the people of Israel, we all too often grumble and complain. Only by staying in a state of grace - by regularly praying, reading the scriptures, attending Holy Mass - can we fight against sin and the wrong choices. Only by cooperating with grace can we resist the temptations to give in to the enticements of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Only by grace can we avoid making the mistake of complaining against the provision of the Lord in our own lives. 

In the Responsorial Psalm for today's Holy Mass, David the Psalmist leads us in singing praise to God for the wonderful way in which He feeds us this heavenly bread. They ate the bread of angels he sings! How much more we should praise the Lord for the Holy Eucharist, the true Bread form Heaven, which we receive at every Holy Mass. 

In our second reading St Paul tells the Ephesians, and he tells us, that we must no longer live as unbelievers but be renewed in the "spirit of your minds and put on the new self, created in Gods Way". 

We need to hear these words today. 

We are called - and empowered - to become new creations now in Jesus Christ. Conversion is an ongoing process. As we cooperate with grace, the Holy Spirit continues to transform us. Are we changing? Are we putting on the new self? 

How do we do this? One way is the frequent reception of the Eucharist, the true Bread of Life. 

The Gospel passage for this Sunday is the wonderful Bread of Life discourse taken from the Gospel of St John. The crowd had seen the multiplication of the loaves and they are looking for more of these kinds of signs. 

They refer to the manna which the Lord gave to Israel in the desert. Jesus tells them that He Himself is the Bread of Life and that whoever comes to Him will never hunger, whoever believes in Him will never thirst.

As Catholic Christians we have been given a gift which makes the manna in the desert dwarf in comparison. We have been given the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. In 2003 Pope St John Paul II issued an Encyclical Letter entitled, in Latin, Ecclesia de Eucharist. (The Church from the Eucharist.) 

In the introduction he wrote these words: 

"The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways, she joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: "Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Mt 28:20), but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity..." 

The Pope continued: "The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is the source and summit of the Christian life. For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth".

How often do we receive Jesus, the Bread of Life, in Holy Communion? How often do we assist at Holy Mass? How often do we participate in Eucharistic Adoration? How often do we take time to visit the Lord in the tabernacle in our local Church?

May the Eucharistic Lord Jesus Christ be the center of your life. Have a wonderful Lords Day.

Deacon Keith Fournier
Dean of Catholic Online School

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