May 5, 2019

May 6-11 weekday homilies

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May 6-11: May 6 Monday: John 6:22-29: 22 On the next day the people who remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only one boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 However, boats from Tiberias came near the place where they ate the bread after the Lord had given thanks. 24 So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

 The context: Today’s Gospel introduces Jesus’ famous discourse on the Holy Eucharist which emerged within a dialogue between Jesus and the Jews who had gone around the Lake and come to Capernaum searching for him. In answer to their question about his arrival, Jesus challenged them, saying that they were looking for him to get another free meal and that such meals would not satisfy them. He also instructed them to labor for food that would give them Eternal Life.

Naturally, the Jews asked Jesus what they should do to get such a food. Since the Jews believed that the Torah was the “bread of life,” many may have thought that Jesus was instructing them to keep the Torah to attain Eternal Life. So, Jesus clarified that they had to do the work of God to attain eternal life and told them that the “work of God” was not to work miracles for their own sakes but to believe in him as the Son of God, sent to give Eternal Life to those who believed in him. While regular food helps us to stay alive in this world, spiritual food sustains and develops our supernatural life, which will last forever in Heaven.  This food, which only God can give us, consists mainly in the gift of Faith in Jesus and in the Grace God gives us to live according to Jesus’ teaching.  Through God’s infinite love, we are given in the Blessed Eucharist the very Author of these gifts, Jesus Christ, as nourishment for our souls.

Life message: 1) Most of the time, we work for food which only nourishes the body. Jesus teaches that he is the Heavenly food, who nourishes the soul and gives us eternal life in union with God in Heaven. Hence, let us receive this Life-giving food both in the Holy Eucharist and in the Holy Scripture with proper preparation and reverence while repenting of our sins.  (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19

May 7 Tuesday: John 6:30-35: 30 So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.

The context: In reply to Jesus’ implied claim that he was the Messiah and his declaration that He had been sent from Heaven to give Eternal Life to those who believed in him, the Jews demanded a sign from Heaven.  Moses, they said, gave a Heavenly sign to their ancestors in the form of manna, rained down on them from Heaven. The Jewish rabbis taught that the promised Messiah would repeat the miracle of the manna as a Messianic sign, and that the prophet Jeremiah would reappear and show the Jews the Ark of the Covenant where the original manna was kept.

Jesus explained to the Jews that it was not Moses but God, his Heavenly Father, who had given them manna from Heaven. He then claimed that he was more than a provider of bread like Moses because he was himself the bread that the Father was providing.  In other words, Jesus is the Heavenly manna whom the Father has sent to the world as the Bread of Life. Thus, Jesus clarifies that the manna given to Moses and the people was not the real bread from Heaven, but only a symbol of the Bread to come. Jesus also demands from them an absolute Faith in himself as the Son of God and Bread of Life if they do not want to hunger and thirst again. Jesus uses the metaphor of food and drink to show that He is the One Who really meets all man’s noblest aspirations

Life messages: 1) Jesus kept his promise, and he continues to feed us with his Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. So, let us nourish our souls with this Heavenly manna.

2) Let us also remember that our duty is to carry this Jesus to our homes and workplaces, radiating his love, mercy and compassion all around us.  (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19

May 8 Wednesday: John 6: 35-40: 35 Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; 39 and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The context: In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus repeats his claim that he is “the Bread of Life.”  He means that, just as God sent manna from heaven to sustain the physical life of his people in the desert, so He has sent His Son Jesus to sustain the spiritual lives of His people.  Spiritual life is actually our relationship with God the Father through His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit in trusting Faith, Love and obedience.

Jesus makes three claims: 1) He claims to be our spiritual Food and offers himself in order to produce God’s life within us.  2) He promises to those who believe in him unbroken friendship with God.  3) Jesus also promises to those who believe in him a share in his own Resurrection at the end of this world and share of Eternal Life with him in heaven.

Life messages: 1) We need to live dynamic spiritual lives, sharing in God’s life as Divine Grace through the Holy Eucharist.  2) We can keep the friendship of Jesus only by leading holy lives free from sin.  3) We can enjoy and share the joy of Jesus’ Resurrection only by realizing and appreciating his presence within us and all around us. Only he can satisfy our deepest needs. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19

May 9 Thursday: John 6: 44-51: 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. 46 Not that anyone has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The context: Today’s Gospel passage is the continuation of Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life. Jesus declares that he has seen God his Father because he has come from Heaven. Jesus also states that we hear God the Father’s Voice through him and through the Holy Spirit because the Father draws us to Jesus through the Holy Spirit.

Jesus reminds the Jews that they cannot be his disciples unless God his Father draws them to him and teaches them. The Magisterium of the Church has repeated this teaching in Vatican II: “Before this Faith can be exercised, man must have the grace of God to move and assist him; he must have the interior help of the Holy Spirit, Who moves the heart and converts it to God, Who opens the eyes of the mind and makes it easy for all to accept and believe the truth” (Dei Verbum, 5). Once they become his disciples, Jesus will feed their souls with the Bread from Heaven, and this Heavenly Bread is his own Body. Eternal Life is reserved for such disciples. This Eternal Life is a Life of love, fellowship, communion, and union with God.

Life message: 1) Holy Communion is the wonderful banquet at which Christ gives himself to us: “The Bread which I shall give for the life of the world is My Flesh.) Hence, let us receive the glorified Body and Blood of the Risen Lord Jesus in the Holy Eucharist with a repentant heart, proper preparation, reverential fear and grateful joy. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19

May 10 Friday (St. Damian de Veuster): John 6: 52-59: 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; 54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

The context: The Jewish hearers of Jesus’ teaching on the Bread of Life were scandalized at his statement that he was going to give them his Flesh to eat, for it suggested to them cannibalism, forbidden in the Jewish Scriptures. Hence, they wanted to know how Jesus could give his Flesh to eat as a means to gain Eternal Life.  Jesus asserted that it was a must for them to eat his Body and drink his Blood if they were to receive Divine Life, Eternal Life and resurrection from the dead. There is no way to interpret his words as “simply symbolic,” which would mean that receiving Communion is only a metaphor, and not really eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ. Jesus stresses very forcefully that it is necessary for us to receive him in the Blessed Eucharist in order to share in Divine Life and to develop the life of grace we have received in Baptism. “We receive Jesus Christ in Holy Communion to nourish our souls and to give us an increase of grace and the gift of eternal life” (St. Pius X Catechism, # 289). “Really sharing in the body of the Lord in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread, we are taken up into communion with him and with one another.” (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, 7). Jesus adds that eating his Body and drinking his Blood are essential for abiding with him, which is, on this earth, the beginning of the Eternal Life of Heaven. Communion with Jesus enables us to start enjoying Eternal Life with God here on earth, while resurrection gives us eternal life with God forever. St. Thomas Aquinas gives this explanation: “The Word gives life to our souls, but the Word made Flesh nourishes our souls.” (“Commentary on St. John, in loc.”). 

Life message: 1) We need to receive Holy Communion with the full awareness that we are abiding with Jesus, carrying him wherever we go. Hence, we are expected to radiate to all around us the love, the mercy, the spirit of service, and the forgiveness of Jesus(http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19

May 11 Saturday: John 6:60-69: 60 Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? 63 It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. 65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” 66 After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. 67 Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

The context: Today’s Gospel passage explains the reaction of Jesus’ listeners when he unequivocally offered eating and drinking of his Body and Blood as an essential condition for Eternal Life which would thus begin on earth. Many Jews in the crowd stopped listening to Jesus. Even some of his disciples started murmuring.

Jesus challenged them, asking how they would they react when they saw his Ascension to Heaven, if they found it difficult to accept this doctrine. He clarified that only someone who listened to His words and received them as God’s Revelation, which is “Spirit and Life,” would be in a position to accept them. Jesus Christ requires his disciples to accept his words because it is He Who has spoken them.  That is what the supernatural act of Faith involves–that act “whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because of the intrinsic truth of the things, viewed by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive” (Vatican I, Dei Filius, Chapter 3). But the Apostles were not scandalized by our Lord’s words.  They said that they already had a deep-rooted confidence in Jesus, and hence, they did not want to leave him.  What St. Peter says (v 68), is not just a statement of human solidarity but an expression of genuine supernatural Faith which is the result of the influence of Divine Grace on his soul.

Life message: 1) The mystery of the Eucharist does call for a special act of Faith from us believers. We believe in the Real Presence of Jesus in the consecrated Host and Wine because we believe that Jesus is God, and nothing is impossible for God. Even if we cannot explain the “how” of this mystery we accept it as a doctrine of Catholicism based on the authority and veracity of the Gospels. (Fr. Tony) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)19