A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
cf. Lk 6:45
Twenty-first sunday in ordinary time
Over the last few weeks we have read from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. It is here we find Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse, and the Catholic Church’s teaching of Jesus’ Real Presence. In today’s Gospel reading from the Liturgy of the Word at Mass we hear the culmination of Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist. This great mystery of faith is a defining point between Catholics and non-Catholic Christians.
It’s unmistakable from St. Paul’s letters, from John’s Gospel, and from Jesus’ own words himself, that, as Christians, we are called to unity: One body, one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism (cf. Eph 4:4-6). The Catholic Church desires that all may come to the knowledge of the fullness of the Christian faith found in and through Jesus Christ. The unity we are called to is no more celebrated than in the sacramental gift of the Eucharist, which the Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the “source and summit of the Christian life” (CCC 1324).
Blessed are we who are are called to the Supper of the Lamb.
As Catholics, we pray for our separated brothers and sisters in the faith that some day they too will taste and see the goodness of the Lord (cf. Ps 34:9). For those friends and family who, like the disciples we read about today, turned their back on Jesus in the Eucharist and walked away, may they return soon to table fellowship. May they hear these words of the parish priest calling them back: “May the body and blood of Christ keep us safe for eternal life.” May our separated brethren some day join us in an attitude or prayerful humility: Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.
Be not afraid! Jesus is waiting for you when you find nothing else in this world satisfies you.
Disciple of Christ | Son of the Church
To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
LISTEN: Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John 6:60-69
Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you? What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him. And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.”
As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “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.”
The Gospel of the Lord
by Mother Elvira Petrozzi
God’s dream is that mankind will come to know him. That is why God became man in Jesus and entered into human history. Therefore the only true thing that counts in the life of any human being is this encounter with Jesus. We understand the importance of having a goal, an ideal, stable security, and something that genuinely keeps us rooted in our lives. We all desire to plant our feet on solid foundations, yet often the reality of daily life is that we find ourselves standing on quicksand, the promises of the world. By truthfully observing ourselves and what happens around us, we often concretely experience that the things of the world cannot fill the heart of man.
Saint Augustine said, “Lord, my heart is restless until it rests in you.” However, I believe that the meaning of “rest in you” must be understood properly. Especially today, with all the stress and the many difficulties of daily life, there is a temptation to escape from reality, to create an abstract spiritual world that is unreal and illusory, and to encounter a god that we have created, a god who gives what we want and leaves us in peace to do what we want. Instead, the Incarnation tells us that we cannot create our own god. Rather, it is he who comes to reveal himself to us, to make himself known to us, and who comes to meet us.
It’s something completely different to have a heart that rests in God, a heart that has found everything that it has always wanted and for which it has been created. I believe this means that we must be willing to lay down our life in concrete actions and that our heart must be rooted both in the present moment and in God. My experience teaches me that when you truly meet God you have an enormous number of things to do. It’s no longer meaningless busyness, but a dynamism that is born from the desire to bring to fruition all the potential that God has placed in you. To say “yes” to Jesus is to reach our maximum fulfillment because this is the true meaning of our existence, the goal to reach. It is the only thing that really counts and it is for this reason that God became man.
Credit: From Sparks of Light: From the Heart of Mother Elvira; as published at Magnificat Magazine, Sunday, Aug 22, 2021. Mother Elvira is the foundress of Comunità Cenacolo, which welcomes the lost and desperate in seventy-one houses in twenty countries. Information herein posted under the "rules of fair use" to foster education and discussion in accordance with Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976.
SUNDAY SERMON: A VIDEO GOSPEL REFLECTION
Friends, today’s Gospel concludes John’s reflection on the Eucharist. At the end of this remarkable chapter, we are faced with a question that defines the Christian faith: Will you follow Christ? May we always answer as Peter does.”
Bishop Robert Barron
The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.”
Saint John Chrysostom
Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.”
Saint Jerome (ca. 347 – 420 A.D.), Father and Doctor of the Church
Jesus, Word Incarnate, help me to know you.
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family, pray for us. Amen.