20 Sunday B #119
Pvb 9, 1-6
Eph 5, 15-20
Jn 6, 51-58
Peter Maurin Farm
August 19, 2012
August 19, 2012
Deacon Tom Cornell
Our first reading from the Book of Proverbs speaks of the Temple of Wisdom built upon seven columns, or pillars. But it doesn’t tell us what those seven pillars are. Let’s say they are the seven virtues: prudence, justice, temperance, courage, and faith, hope and charity.
Or they might be what scholars of religion call the pillars of all major religions: the contemplation of God, the ultimate mystery; then where do we come from and where are we going and why; the destiny of the universe itself; salvation, redemption, from what and for what; and what other planes of existence there might be. Christians will deal with these questions from our understanding of Hebrew and Christian Scripture and our own and our common experience, Sacred Tradition, and ultimately, through the person of Jesus Christ. Wisdom, Sophia, Logos was with God and danced at the Creation, to become man in Jesus Christ.
For the past three weeks, now four, we have been hearing “The Bread of Life Discourse” from the 6th Chapter of the Gospel according to John. Jesus speaks of himself as the bread of life, his own flesh and blood as food for eternal life. Many of the Jews who heard these words found them intolerable; they couldn’t bear to hear them. They walked away; they would listen to him no more.
The bread of life come down from heaven will be offered to you in minutes. This is the whole purpose of the priesthood. Jesus would leave this earth, go back to the Father, sit at his right hand until he comes again to judge the living and the dead. But until that time, Jesus remains with us. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in their midst.” Jesus is present in the poor the sick and the suffering. “When you did these things for the least of these my brethren, you did them for me.” Jesus is also truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity in every particle of the bread and wine consecrated by a valid priest at the altar. He remains with us in sacramental sign because, no matter how badly we go astray, no matter how foolish we become, he wants to be with us, to nourish and guide us even despite ourselves. Such is the infinite mercy of God.
God the Father did not directly will that his only begotten son should die, mocked and scourged, upon a felon’s cross. But it was inevitable. It was God’s will that Jesus submit and resist not the evil of men. This would be the ultimate sacrifice which we commemorate at every Mass.
If the Incarnation had been postponed for two thousand years and Jesus had been born in Bethlehem, Connecticut or Marlboro, New York instead of Bethlehem in Juda, the outcome would have been the same. We would have killed him. One way or another we would have killed him. That’s what we do to the lambs of God.
And Jesus would forgive, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do,” just as he did at Golgotha. And we would be forgiven, saved. Saved from the consequences of our own blind stupidity, willfulness, pride, greed, gluttony, lust, envy, sloth and anger, saved from the isolation we put ourselves into when we hide from each other’s pain and want and need.
The bread of life! Communion! The word means oneness with God and oneness with each other. So we must bear one another’s burdens, live as brothers and sisters, not judging, but sharing, just as God has shared with us, shared his own very self! Such a gift we have been given! How can we not share with others then? Our hearts should be so full of gratitude that they open and pour out whatever we have, even foolishly. God will not be outdone in generosity. His eye is on the sparrow. I know he watches you and me! W