Homily of the Week: 21st Sunday Ordinary Time

Fr. Gene Magnificat Buffalo Spiritual Advisor
Fr. Gene
Magnificat Buffalo Spiritual Advisor

Date: Sunday, August 23, 2015

How many like “czarnina” – duck soup? Some without ever tasting the soup refuse to do so because one of the ingredients is blood. We can understand how Jewish people listening to Jesus speak of giving his flesh to eat and his blood to drink would be repulsed. Eating flesh and drinking blood is prohibited in the Hebrew Scriptures. Many of Jesus’ own disciples walk away and refuse to believe. How can we understand these “hard” words of Jesus? The flesh and blood that Jesus will give for the life of the world takes place at the Last Supper and on the cross. John, the evangelist, tells us that Jesus gave up or “bequeathed” his spirit to his mother and to the Beloved Disciple standing at the foot of the cross. Then, an eye witness speaks of the side of Jesus being pierced and blood and water flowing out. On the cross Jesus will give his true self (flesh, blood and spirit) as the gift of eternal life to those who come to believe in him. “In a world gone wrong, there is no communion without sacrifice.” When we receive Holy Communion, we are receiving and being nourished by the essence of Jesus, his very life and redemptive/sacrificial love. Our Catholic tradition uses the expression: “true presence” in fidelity to the words of Jesus himself to express our faith that the consecrated bread and wine has been transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. When we say: “Amen,” we are participating in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Although some may walk away from this mystery, Simon Peter speaks for us, the Church, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

 

–Fr. Eugene Ulrich:  Pastor of the Church of the Annunciation, Elma, New York and Spiritual Advisor for Magnificat Buffalo

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