Ask a teenage boy and girl, who are in deep love, how often do they talk to each other? Ask them how much she/he want to give the other? He/she may say, they want to give all of themselves. They may say gosh we don’t know how much we talk a day. They may say how they like to stay close always. They are in deep love; they want to give each other their heart.
This week we continue our reflection on the “bread of Life” discourse. We need the tangible. We need someone to hold us, protect us, and give us courage. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became one of us, but that wasn’t enough. He gave us His Flesh and Blood. He comes into us, and we come into Him. He holds us, protects us, and gives us courage.
In today’s first reading from the Book of Proverbs, wisdom represents God, who offers wisdom and understanding in the form of a rich banquet. We read in the proverb “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.” The early Christians often identified Jesus as the Wisdom of God. They regarded the Eucharist as Wisdom’s banquet, where they shared in the Divine Wisdom now present in Jesus.
There is a wonderful resource to learn more about the Eucharist. Follow the instruction below:
Name of the video: Presence.
Catholic Services Appeal 2018-19
First of all let me express my gratitude to all of you for your support of Catholic Services Appeal. Year after year some of you generously support towards our parish Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) goal. Your generosity makes a difference. This week is the KICK-OFF of our annual Catholic Services Appeal (CSA) for 2018-19. The theme for this year's appeal is “Called to be Saints.” “You are the visible face of the invisible Father...let the Church be your visible face in the world, its Lord risen and glorified.” - Pope Francis.
Sometimes we ask why we need to give our money to diocese when it can be used by the local church. It is a valuable thought. The reality is that we are part of the universal church. We benefit from the diocese so many different ways. You should have received the Bishop James Power’s letter, which will give you an idea of how your money is used and how many lives you touched.
It can’t just be some of us; if all of us participate we can reach the goal. Please participate to reach the goal of each of our parishes. For a successful year, we need to do three things: pray for CSA first; second, make sure we each participate; and third, encourage others to participate. Even non-parishioners will participate for the right cause. Let us respond to Bishop James Power’s invitation and make it a successful year.
The 2018-19 year goal for each parish is as follows:
St. Anthony’s: $24,529
Immaculate Conception: $10,486
St. Francis: $ 5,402
Let us pray together, let us contribute towards it, then we can reach the goal.
Have you ever had a meal with someone you loved, someone who really care for you? When you leave that place, do feel loved, cared for, supported, and even strengthened? The readings for this weekend tell us that God has special love for his people.
In the first reading we see Elijah’s discouragement and frustration as he fled for his life. King Ahab of Israel married a pagan queen, Jezebel, and erected an altar to Ball. The prophet Elijah challenged 450 of the pagan god Baal’s prophets and defeated them. Queen Jezebel found out what Elijah did to Baal’s prophets and was angry, sending soldiers to kill the prophet. Elijah fled for his life. He was walking through the desert, became exhausted, and fell into a sleep under a broom tree while he was asking for a speedy death. God’s love for Elijah provided for him. God sent an angel who woke him up and said, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!" God’s gift of food provided nourishment and strengthened him so he could continue on his journey to Horeb where Elijah would be commissioned again as God’s prophet to carry on the struggle and anoint his successor.
In today’s Gospel Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” God offers his people abundant life, but we can miss it. Jesus offers the very life of God himself - life which sustains us, not only now in this age, but also in the age to come. He is the true bread of heaven that can satisfy the deepest hunger we experience.
We saw in the Gospel that the Jews murmured about Jesus because he said, "I am the bread that came down from heaven." To accept the gift of the Bread of Life, they had to first accept that Jesus was more than human. He was Divine. To understand the miracle and mystery of communion, our starting point must be that Jesus is Divine, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. He gives us who He is: Eternal Life. When we receive the Eucharist, we are united to Him, to each other, and to the whole Body of Christ.
The people had a hard time accepting Jesus, the bread of life. They murmured. Are there still people who murmur about the Eucharist? There are people who don’t know the true meaning of the Eucharist. Every Sunday, and for some of us, every day, we enter into the Mystery of the Eucharist. We receive the One who is the Bread of Life. Do we murmur?
What do I have to offer at the Eucharist? We have to think about what we want to offer every time we come for the Eucharist. It may be for someone in our family who is sick, or our own disappointments and struggles. It may be a victory or joy in our life.
Today, what are the expenses of my offering? It may be how I prepare myself for the Eucharist. I may have to get up early and take time to get ready. I had to give up some other activities or fun to get here to be in the Lord’s presence to celebrate Eucharist. There is an expense.
The Eucharistic celebration should not be a casual get together; it is a grand celebration. It should not be time to murmur, it is a great meal, sacrifice, and thanksgiving. We may be tempted to murmur. Let us stop and think, “What I am missing?” God says, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!"
There is story about St. John Vianney. Every day, one of his parishioners came to the church and sat there for a long time looking at the Tabernacle. Once St. John Vianney went up to him and asked, “What are you doing?” The parishioner replied simply, “I look at Jesus and Jesus looks at me.” In today’s Gospel, the second Sunday on the sixth chapter of John, the Bread of Life discourse continues.
In the first reading we see grumbling and complaining Israelites. They were excited first because they just moved out of Egypt, and God has given them freedom. Soon they found it is not an easy journey to freedom. They started to grumble and complain. Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.” God gave food for the journey. Again they saw the providence of God. Today’s Gospel passage takes place the day after Jesus had fed the five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish. People kept coming, not because they wanted to hear Jesus’ teaching, but because they saw an awesome miracle: five thousand people were fed from five loaves and two fish.
Jesus used their desire to eat to raise their need to an infinitely higher level. He told them that they seek food that perishes, but that he could give them food that never perishes. They spoke about the manna that God provided in the days of the Exodus, and Jesus told them that the bread the Father gives is greater than manna. This bread doesn’t just satisfy physical hunger, but gives life to the world. They asked for this bread, and Jesus said that he is the bread of life. “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
We see in the first reading, in the midst of their struggle and grumbling in the dessert, he fed them and satisfied them. The Eucharist is food for our journey. The Eucharist is not going to give you everything, but it gives us strength to walk in the most difficult times. In the difficult moments we don’t have to ask where God is because he is hanging on the cross next to us. The Eucharist is our union with Jesus’ offering Himself to the Father for us. We need the Eucharist as our spiritual food. The Eucharist is the very Body of Christ.
The Eucharist is not just food for our journey, it is also the end of our journey, heaven. What does heaven look like? The heavens, saints, and angels are in full communion with God. At every Mass, heaven touches the earth. All saints and angels are present at the Mass. We can see only bread, but in the Eucharist, Jesus gives himself. In the Gospel, Jesus said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
The Eucharist is a meal: participation in His Body and Blood, sacrifice; participation in Jesus’ offering of his body on the Cross and Eucharist is thanksgiving. Jesus gives himself up and thanks the Father, and we, who receive Jesus in Communion, give thanks to God for His Son. Let us celebrate joyfully this gift of the Eucharist.
Thank you: I would like to join St. Anthony Parish and Finance council to thank Jim Litwaitis for sharing his time and talent for years for our bookkeeping. Thank you, we appreciate your generosity to our parish.
Welcome: I would like to join St. Anthony Parish and Finance council to welcome Murrin & Associates, LLC, Accounting & Tax services, who will be doing our bookkeeping. Jerry Murrin is our parishioner.