God is walking around Heaven one day, and notices a number of people in the heavenly streets who shouldn't be there. He finds St. Peter at the gate and says to him, "Peter, you've been remiss in your duties. You're letting in the wrong sort of people."
"Don't blame me, Lord," replied Peter. "I turn them away just like you said to. Then they go around to the back door and your mother lets them in."
August 15th we celebrate Assumption of Mary: a journey that we’re all called to walk: from here to Heaven. We didn’t celebrate this year because it falls on Saturday. This solemn feast of Mary was defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950 but was celebrated in the Church from its earliest days as the Feast of the Dormition, or falling asleep of Mary. Mary received the grace to be body and soul in Heaven along with her son. Our Lord ascended into Heaven in glory; Our Blessed Mother was assumed into Heaven.
We know from the Bible, God created Adam and Eve in the image and likeness of God. Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his Creator die in his heart and, abusing his freedom, disobeyed God's command. This is what man's first sin consisted of. All subsequent sin would be disobedience toward God and lack of trust in his goodness.” God gave us second Adam and Eve: Jesus and Mary. If we look at the first book of the Bible, Genesis 3:15, we read, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; they will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.” God chose Mary, second Eve, in a special way to bring Jesus, the second Adam, who brings our salvation.
This weekend all readings talk about God’s love for his people and through the Israelites extend to all nations. The first reading is the third section of Isaiah. This section witnesses to the struggles and hoped-for blessings of the postexilic community now back in the homeland of Israel. Today’s reading prophet gives instruction for those who wish to live according to God’s word and covenant. Isaiah declares in the reading, “my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
In the Gospel, Jesus declares that salvation is extended for all nations through faith. In last Sunday's gospel reading, Peter's prayer was condensed into three words, "Lord, save me!" In today's reading the Canaanite woman's prayer is “Lord, help me.” Peter was the Lord's chief disciple, the Canaanite woman was a pagan; but their prayer was the same. Jesus said to Peter, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” on the other hand Jesus said to the Canaanite woman, “O woman, great is your faith!” Both of them received his blessing.
In today's Gospel reading, however, he appeared rather reluctant to help the woman. "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" meant "I was sent to help Jews, not Canaanites." To make it worse, he added "It is not fair to throw the children's food to dogs." The 'children' were the Jews, "the children of Israel." The 'dogs' were foreigners. It was a Jewish nickname for all foreigners at that time. In the end Jesus praises her faith and blesses her with healing for her daughter. Let us grow in our faith and bring us to Jesus for his blessing.
In one of his books, Mark Twain recalls a visit to the Holy Land and a stay in Capernaum. It was a moonlit night, so he decided to take his wife on a romantic boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. Twain asked a man in a rowboat how much he would charge to take them out on the water. The man saw Twain's white suit, white shoes and white hat and supposed he was a rich Texan. So he said the cost would be twenty-five dollars. Twain walked away as he said, "Now I know why Jesus walked on water." This weekend’s reading Elijah encountering God in whispering sound and the apostles encountering Jesus while he was walking on the water. Unexpected ways and place God come to our life.
The story of Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb was a flight from danger. Ahaz was the king of Israel, but the real power was his wife Queen Jezebel, the promotor of pagan god Baal.Elijah challenged the all the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and which ended up Elijah’s victory and annihilated all of them. Queen Jezebel was angry and ready to take Elijah’s life. Elijah fled to Mount Horeb to save his life. Mount Horeb is an alternate name for Mount Sinai, where Lord appeared to Moses. Here Elijah acknowledges the presence of God by covering his face and coming out of the cave where he had been staying and received a commission. There is a Hebrew idiom, “to serve the Lord.” We read in the first reading God said to Elijah, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” In a way, God was asking him, why you are hiding here, I want you to go back and do the prophetic service.
We hear in the Gospel the continuation of the feeding of the Five Thousand. We see creative power and authority in the multiplication of loaves and fish. The Gospel illustrated this weekend, Jesus’ power over other elements of creation. In the Gospel, Jesus is walking on crashing waves of a terrible storm at Sea of Galilee. On the other hand the apostles, in the middle of the night a few miles away from the shore being tossed by the waves. They were fishermen; they go for fishing always in the middle of the night. They know quite well the Sea of Galilee, but still they are scared.
When we are scared or in pain, do we have a tendency to see ghost or evil instead of God? It is very hard to see good when we go through tough time, isn’t it? When the apostles were laboring against the turbulent sea, Jesus came to save them. They saw Jesus walking on the water, what did they think? “It is a ghost.”
Jesus told them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” It is I; here Jesus does a self-identification. We see in the book of Exodus 3:14, God said to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM.” Then HE said to Moses to tell Israelites, “I AM has sent me to you.” Jesus revealed his identity to the apostles.
St. John Paul II always, repeated the phrase from the Bible, “DO NOT BE AFRAID.” Jesus tells us today, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” He is with us always, be ready to encounter his unexpected place, time and situations.
We are surrounded by bad news, isn't it? Turn on the TV or look at any media, all over we can see sad news. Especially in 2020 with COVID-19 totally changing our lives. But we still have reason to celebrate and share the good news. Our young people are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation.
Please join me in congratulating our Confirmation Candidates from Immaculate Conception, who will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this Sunday, August 2nd in the afternoon and Confirmation Candidates from St. Anthony who received on Thursday, July 30th. You can see their names on cover of our bulletin, so when you see them congratulate them and continue to pray for their faith journey.
This weekend I would like to reflect on the Sacrament of Confirmation. Most of us may not remember our baptism. We were so little, our parents and godparents stood for us and expressed their commitment to bring us in faith. When we grew up, we stood up for ourselves and proclaimed our faith. This week, our young people are doing the same at their Sacrament of Confirmation.
How many of us know Jesus? We may say, “Yes, I know Jesus.” Then the question is how deep do we know him? The Apostles were the closest followers of Jesus. They walked with Jesus, witnessed miracles, and listened to his teachings. They thought they knew him well. In reality, they did not know Jesus until the Pentecost.
Look at the Crucifixion scene, they were scattered, and then they were hiding in the upper room. Jesus after resurrection appeared to them. After Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection, they gradually started to learn and know Jesus.
At the coming of the Holy Spirit, their eyes were opened, they understood the teaching of Jesus, they got ever closer to Jesus. The Pentecost experience filled their hearts with joy and courage. They were no more afraid for they understood the true meaning of peace Jesus shared with them. They were not stuck there either, they grew in their journey and went around the whole world and proclaimed the Good News!
In another way to look at the celebration of Sacrament of Confirmation, it is our Pentecost, our young people are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation. The rest of us are renewing our commitment. Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments. And one of the three Sacraments of Christian Initiation. Those who receive Sacraments as an adult, receive all three Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation) at the Easter Vigil.
Our young men and women were preparing for a long time for this day, for the reception of the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. It was life changing for them. They received the gift of the Holy Spirit. What are the Gifts of the Holy Spirit? There are seven of them: 1. Wisdom which helps to understand things from God’s point of view; 2. Understanding which helps us to understand the deeper meaning of supernatural truth; 3. Knowledge helps us to appreciate the life God has given: begin to see God’s presence in people, things, and nature and treat them with proper dignity; 4. Right Judgement or Counsel which helps to make the right decision God would want me to make; 5. Reverence or Piety which helps to trust God more, relationships become stronger; 6. Courage or Fortitude which helps to stand up for what we believe; 7. Fear of the Lord or Awe and Wonder which helps us to stay on the right path to heaven. Fear of the Lord is because I love God and I want to please Him.
Let us congratulate our young men and women on their Confirmation, and continue to pray for them and let us reaffirm our commitment.
Invitation to live in the presence of God!
Let me start by congratulating our St. Anthony Confirmation Candidates, who will receive Sacrament of Confirmation on July 30th. Let us keep our Candidates, sponsors, and families in prayer. This weekends reading invites us to live in the presence of God. Let us pray that our candidates may encounter and receive the Holy Spirit at the reception of the Sacrament. Immaculate Conception Candidates will be making their Confirmation in the following week.
A couple of years ago, I read a story about the Pink Diamond of Tanzania. Dr. Williamson was a geologist doing some archeological excavation work in Tanzania. One day he found himself driving in a deserted area, slipping and sliding along a rain-soaked road. Suddenly his four-wheel-drive vehicle sank up to its axles in the mud and got stuck. Pulling out his shovel, Dr. Williamson began the unpleasant task of digging the car out of a mud hole. He had been at it for a while when his shovel uncovered something strange. It was a pinkish stone of some sort. Being a geologist and naturally curious about rock formations, he picked it up and wiped away the mud. The more mud he removed, the more excited he became, and he could hardly believe what he saw. When the stone was finally clean, Dr. Williamson was beside himself with joy. He had discovered the diamond which became known as the famous Pink Diamond of Tanzania and is now set in the royal scepter of Great Britain. In today’s two parables, Jesus tells of two other men who unexpectedly discovered treasures.
Jesus is trying to sell us a great treasure. I didn’t know how many of us are going to buy it. Jesus invites us to inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Gospel of Matthew chapter 13, we started to read the last couple of weeks. It started with the Sower sowing the seed and then moved to wheat and weed, mustard seed, and yeast mixed with the flour. This weekend we hear two more brief parables of hidden treasures. Both of them are buried treasures and the pearl. This weekend parable invites to reflect on a personal commitment to acquiring the treasure.
I am sure we all want to find the best in our life, the supreme treasure. Do we succeed in finding the treasure? In those moments of distraction, are we chasing false treasures? The real valuable pearl is God’s life/presence here on earth and later in heaven.
Some time ago I listened to a message. It is about walking with Jesus in our daily life. Rise in the morning with Jesus, and whatever you do that day do with Jesus. Whenever we include our fellow being part of our life, whenever our love overcomes sin and our faith overcomes suffering, whenever we render humble service to others, we are walking with Jesus.
This weekends entire reading is about living in the kingdom of heaven/the presence of God. In the first reading, God visited Solomon in a dream. God told Solomon to ask for a favor. He could ask anything, but his request was for an understanding heart. What would you and I ask if we had an opportunity like Solomon? The LORD was pleased in his request and told him that “I give you a heart so wise and understanding.”
In the second reading St. Paul says to Romans, “we know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Let us love and live in the presence of God.
If God came in your dream tonight and asked you to ask for one thing and one thing only, what would you/I ask for? Through these readings, Jesus reminds us that to inherit the true treasure, the kingdom of heaven, the presence of God.
Thank You Mary Rybak and Welcome Tammy Radlinger at the Immaculate Conception Office!
As you know Mary Rybak is leaving her position at Immaculate Conception and Tammy Radlinger is going to take the secretary position along with some of her existing job. Let us express our gratitude to Mary for her years of service and welcome Tammy into her new position. I am sure she will do a great job!
Anthony De Mello, S. J., in “TAKING FLIGHT” narrates a story: a woman dreamed one night that she walked into a brand new shop. Much to her surprise, she found God working behind the counter. She asked God, "What do you sell here?" "Everything your heart desires," God replied. It was incredible. She was talking face to face with God. "I want peace of mind and love and happiness and wisdom and freedom from fear," she told God. Then almost as an afterthought, she added, "not just for me, but for everyone on earth." God smiled, "I think you've got me wrong, my dear. We don't sell fruits here. Only seeds."
How is your garden doing? I think this year we have just enough rain, so we don’t have to do too much watering in the garden. Last weekend we heard the parable of the sower and seed, and this weekend, we hear the parables of wheat and weeds, mustard seed, and yeast in the wheat flour. The core of these parables is the Kingdom of God. Matthew is talking to a Jewish audience, so he is the phrase Kingdom of heaven instead of the Kingdom of God. Jesus believed that they are not worthy to call Yahweh. So they used different words to say about God. The kingdom of God means the presence of God.
First, Jesus tells them the parable of wheat and weeds. In Palestine, it was very common to see the wheat and tares growing together. It is very hard to distinguish one from the other. Jesus tells them in the parable, “Let them grow together until the harvest.”
There were people in Jesus’ time who wanted him to separate the bad from the good as well. Among them were people who claimed the good people, the Pharisees whose name means “the separated ones” and others were sinners. Like Pharisees and Scribes, we will be tempted to do the same.
St. Augustine says that the field, he explained, is, indeed, the world, but it is also the Church, the place in which saints and sinners live side-by-side, and in which there is room to grow and to be converted. "The evildoers," he said, "exist in this way either so that they will be converted, or because through them the good exercise patience."
Then Jesus talks about the two other parables. The first speaks of a mustard seed that is sown in a garden. What’s special about this mustard? That it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows, it becomes a bush bigger than the other vegetables. The second parable speaks of a woman who mixes a little yeast into a large mass of flour. Without anyone knowing how the yeast goes about working silently until the whole mass is fermented. In both cases, it is small beginnings but leads to great transformation.
The Spirit of God is still working among us. It may have a small beginning, it promoting solidarity, love and joy-filled family, Church, Community, Nation and the World. But we need to allow the Spirit to work in us and grow. Our God is loving and merciful.
Outstanding among the heroic founders of the United States was Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790). Printer, author, publisher, inventor, scientist, businessman, thinker, statesman, and diplomat, Franklin was a great blessing to the U.S and to humanity. I read a story about Benjamin Franklin by Msgr. Arthur Tone. One day he received a gift of a whisk-broom from India. He noticed a few seeds fastened to wisps of the broom. Franklin planted them. When the first crop came up he distributed the seeds among his friends and neighbors. Their crops flourished. Thus, Franklin was responsible for introducing broom-corn into the American colonies and starting the American broom manufacturing industry.
All three readings invite us to reflect on the power of the Word of God. In the first reading, Isaiah reminds us that like rain and snow earth fertile, the powerful word of God always produces fruits. In the second reading, Paul, in the midst of persecution feels peace in having preached God’s word. In the Gospel, we listen from the Gospel of Matthew the parable of the sower.
Gospel of Matthew, the entire chapter of thirteen, the discourse in the parables. We will be listening to Jesus talking in parables the next few weeks. Jesus took the life story of the people and tried to teach them the Word of God.
Jesus is the sower, and the Word of God is the seed and our hearts and minds are the soil. Jesus in this parable invites us to look at our heart and ask a question that how fertile is our heart to receive the Word of God. It depends where we are in our life. In the parable, the seeds fell in different places like, on the path, rocky ground, among thorn, and rich soil. If we want to produce many fruits we need to have a receptive heart.
This parable aims at the hearers of the Word of God. There are times we hear the Word of God with a shut mind. There is no chance to enter into their heart. Pharisees know the scripture, but they don’t understand the Word incarnated among them, because they think Jesus is a false prophet.
There are times we hear the Word of God with a mind like shallow ground. They want to follow Jesus, but the cross is a challenge for them, quickly drop it. There are times we hear the Word of God, but the mind and heart have crowed with so many interests and things. There are times we hear totally focused on the Word of God, we embrace it and produces many fruits.
The Prophet Isaiah says in the first reading that this is what we need to do God’s work. He predicts that we will embrace the Everlasting Word. And he prophesied that the Word of God would be returned to Him.
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.
St. Paul tells in second Corinthians 9:10, “The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness.”
Christ is the gardener, seeds are the Word of God and it is in our world. The fate of seed depends on what kind of soil receives those seeds in. Let us make work on our soil, our mind and heart, to receive the Word of God, cherish and nourish, so it can produce many fruits.
During the days of the Second Vatican Council, Pope St. John XXIII used to submit all his anxieties to God with this prayer every night: “Lord, Jesus, I’m going to bed. It's your Church. Take care of it!” We all know that we are safe at the presence of the Lord. Do we completely trust in him?
In the first reading, Prophet Zechariah consoles the Jews in their suffering and promising that their God who is meek and humble will come and establish peace. We see this same passage in the Gospel of Matthew 21:5, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. Jesus’ coming to Jerusalem to suffer, die, and raised. His entry into the city such a way is to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah.
The second part of the Gospel for today is the heart of Jesus. Matthew (11:28) Jesus says "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” And “my yoke is easy, and my burden light."
This Gospel passage from Matthew is similar to Ben Sirach’s invitation to learn wisdom and submit to her yoke (Sir 51:23, 26).
Yoke does not sound good, it is a burden. Well, it turns out that sometimes farm animals will be unequally yoked. For training purposes, a farmer might yoke a bullock with an ox. The ox pulls the entire load while the bullock walks next to him. Once the bullock is trained, they share the burden. "My yoke," Jesus says, "is easy and my burden light." When we walk with Jesus in love, our burden will be easy. Walking together in love is not easy, it needs a rhythm. We need to learn from Jesus. It is a process, it is a journey to make.
Today’s Gospel passage starts with Jesus’ praise to the Father for he chose to reveal to the little ones. While the wise and the learned, the scribes and Pharisees have rejected Jesus’ teaching and significance of his mighty deeds, the childlike has accepted them. It is granted to those who are open to receive it.
Rectory roof project
Dear cluster parishioners,
We were planning to do a fundraising for the rectory roof. First, it was a plan to do fundraising in conjunction with the Feast of St. Anthony, which was June 13, but COVID-19 changed our life and it didn’t work out. We cannot do the way planned now, so we are still going to do a portion of fundraising. We will be mailing you the raffle tickets this week, please consider to participate and if you can make a donation towards it, please do so.
The rectory roof is the original roof and it contains asbestos, so we need licensed roofer for that, and we have bids from them and the total cost is $ 84,000.00. You will receive your raffle tickets early next week. Thank you in advance for your support of this project.
Congratulations to our Graduates!
Graduation Day! How exciting, with all their future before them. Graduation and its celebrations are a little different this year. This year we celebrate in a different way.
The word you hear the most from all of these people is the word success. They will want you to be successful in life. They want you to have a successful career. They want you to be someone they can be proud of. Your parents, your teachers, even your priest, will always want you to be successful. And that’s because all of us only want the best for you. So we define success in the best way possible: that you will have the best. Congratulations and all the best for the future.
A farmer, who went to a big city to see the sights, asked the hotel's clerk about the time of meals. "Breakfast is served from 7 to 11, dinner from 12 to 3, and supper from 6 to 8," explained the clerk. "Look here," inquired the farmer in surprise, "when am I going to get time to see the city?"
Hospitality was one of the great virtues of the Bible. The ancients believed that each person should be welcomed as though one were welcoming God himself. In our first reading, we see, in Elisha’s welcome by a childless woman who lived in Shunem. Shunem is located about 30 miles northeast of Samaria. It is a beautiful story of generosity and the love of God.
We don’t see a name for the women in Shunem, she showed Elisha reverence and hospitality by inviting him to dine with her and her husband and by allowing the prophet to occupy an upper room of her house. Later Elisha asked, "Can something be done for her?" His servant Gehazi, a name which means “valley of vision,” answered; "Yes! She has no son, and her husband is getting on in years." In response, Elisha said to the woman, "This time next year you will be fondling a baby son." You might remember a similar event in the Book of Genesis. Three men on a journey came upon Abraham’s tent. Abraham treated them with complete respect, welcoming them, and providing for their needs. In response, they promised him that his wife, Sara would have a baby within a year. She was inside the tent and heard this. Knowing that she was beyond childbearing years, she started laughing. But in a year, Abraham and Sarah had a baby they named Isaac, which means Child of Laughter.
The tenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew starts the commissioning the twelve. Then he instructs them. This weekend reading is concluding part of His instructions. Gospel of Matthew says, “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…” Gospel of Luke (14:26) says “hate” father and mother; Luke actually says the same thing as Matthew.
Jesus uses the words; (10:37) "more than me" is literally "above me." The priority of faith demanded radical consequences for early Christians. Jesus reminded his followers that the Christian life involved such risks (a cross to carry in 10:38).
At the same time, Jesus stresses hospitality. He says, (10:40) "Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.” In other words, whoever welcomed the other, welcomed Christ and his Father. Even in the smallest kindness, God rewarded the minister and the host equally.
Hospitality is more than just being good hosts, it all about encountering the presence of God in other people. The second reading, taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans, explains that in our Baptism, we have been baptized into Jesus’ death and buried with him, and we look forward to resurrection with him. Since Baptism is our way into this new life, it makes us part of the Body of Christ, and Christ is truly present in us. That is why the one who welcomes us welcomes Christ and becomes eligible for a reward.
Once I read a conversation between dad and son. It goes like this:
"Daddy, Daddy, can I have another glass of water please?"
"But I've given you 10 glasses of water already!"
"Yes, but the bedroom is still on fire!"
Happy Father’s Day to all the Fathers! It is time to pause a moment, to pray for, and to reflect on our fathers whom we honor. On this Father's Day, let us remember our dads – living or dead – in a special way and offer on the altar of God during this Holy Mass, invoking our heavenly Father’s blessings on them. Today we celebrate, congratulate and pray for the men who continue to reflect the divine qualities of fatherhood. Fathers are a blessing and we thank them for blessing us with lives of dedication, endurance, and love. Happy Father’s Day!!
I would like to Congratulate Our First Communicant and Families! Our Children made their First Communion on Wednesday. This year it was different, but it was a precious time. Normally we do during the Sunday Mass, but we are keeping social distancing and limited seating, so we decided to do a separate Mass. I am sure all of you were praying for our children.
The reading for the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time tells us do not to be afraid. We live in a time of anxiety, worries, and insecurity. COVID-19 a small virus that cannot be seen with our eyes has changed our lives and entire world. What is our security? The readings tell us our security is our Lord!
In the first reading, we see the Confession of Jeremiah. Jeremiah said: “I hear the whisperings of many: ‘Terror on every side!... But the LORD is with me, like a mighty champion.” The terror and sorrow brought to Jeremiah despair, nevertheless, he trusted in the power of God.
In the Gospel, Jesus says to us do not be afraid. Some other time we talk about Fear God. Sometimes we can get confused. Do we have to be afraid of God? The Fear of God is out of love. It means that we should respect God, reverence God, and be more concerned with fulfilling the will of God.
Sometimes we are afraid that we will make the wrong decision. At other times we are afraid of what others will think when we speak up for Jesus. We are afraid of what the future will bring our children. We are also afraid of growing old. Sometimes we are afraid of what bad health will bring us. At present above all, we are afraid of COVID-19. At the root of these fears is the fear of loss. Every fear we have is grounded in the knowledge that we have something or someone to lose. Fear out of love helps us to take precautionary measures.
Fear is part of our life. But Jesus tells us that we should not be afraid. On the other hand, Jesus tells us to be afraid of the “one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.” Basically Jesus is trying to tell us “Fear the Lord and do not be afraid of anything.”
Throughout the Bible, God tells “do not be afraid.” In Genesis 15:1, God said to Abram in a vision, “do not be afraid, Abram, I am your shield…” Numbers 21:34, The Lord said to Moses, do not be afraid king Bashan, for I have given him into your hands… Jeremiah 1: 8, the Lord said to friend Jeremiah, “Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you…” Luke 1:30, the angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
During Mass, the Priest says a beautiful prayer at the end of the “Our Father…” Deliver us, Lord; we pray, from every evil, graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Then everybody responds: For the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours now and forever.
Fearing God is different from being afraid-Fear out of love. It is born from the knowledge of who God is-He is love.
One of the most famous theologian of the 20th century, Hans Urs von Balthasar says it this way: "When receiving the Eucharist each person must remember that he is falling into the arms of God like someone dying of hunger in the wilderness of this life."
Today we celebrate the solemnity of the Most Body and Blood of Christ! Corpus Christi Sunday! This feast is the heart of our church, and the heart of the lives of each of us. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1322 says “The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." Most of the Sacraments take place in the Sacrament of Eucharist.
First Reading Moses recalls the difficulties they encountered on their journey through the desert to the Promised Land. Moses reminds them that God did more than see to their physical needs. To live we need more than bread and water. We need to experience communion with God. We need to realize that what we hunger for most is ‘every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Deuteronomy 8:3).
In second readings St. Paul says, “The loaf of bread is one, we, though many are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” Here we see a great expression of the need to belong-communion with Christ - bound to so close to each other. Jesus gives us his flesh and blood, he gives us his very life, sacrifices everything for us.
In the Gospel of John Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (John 6:55-56).
Even though the Sacrament of the Eucharist instituted by Jesus Christ, we can see through out the Bible connecting passage to the Eucharist and priesthood. In the book of Genesis 14:18-20, Melchizedek, the priest-king of Salem blesses Abraham and offers bread and wine. He prefigures Jesus, the Eternal Priest and King, who is going to offer bread and wine, sacrificing on the Cross.
In the book of Exodus chapter 24:8, at Mount, God establishes a covenant with Israel through Moses. He took the blood and threw it upon the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” Jesus uses similar words at the Last Supper, offering himself and establishing the New Covenant. Again we read in the Book of Exodus 25: 8, “They are to make a sanctuary for me, that I may dwell in their midst.” 25:30, “You shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.” We see again in the first book of Kings Chapter 7:48 the Bread of presence and Tabernacle in the Temple. Today’s Gospel reading from John, Jesus says, “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." (John 6:51). Jesus is inviting us to do the same.
I would like to share a story from my hospital ministry period. One Corpus Christi Sunday I was celebrating Mass in Hospital, a lady was sitting in a wheelchair in the center of the chapel. During the consecration, she started to cry. I made a conclusion in my mind that she might be in pain. After the Mass, I inquired her, how she was doing. She told me that it was not tears of pain, but it was tears of joy. She was suffering for a long time; she had thoughts of committing suicide from time to time, but her husband and children gave her the strength to live. She continued, she was thinking about your homily, visualizing Jesus broke and gave his life, and in reality, we are sending out to do the same. She said, her faith gave her the strength to live. She realizes that there is a purpose for her life. God needs her for her husband and children. She said, that day she felt her life is so meaningful.
Every Mass we gather together to celebrate Mass. We bring ourselves as we are to offer to God; with our joy and sorrows: our total life. We become one with Christ’s sacrifice. Then we are sent out to break and give our lives to one another. It is not easy, it is painful. But Jesus’ Body and Blood give us strength. Let us adore Jesus in Eucharist, and give thanks for many blessings.