A Message from Monsignor Jay…
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ:
In priestly ministry, I often encounter profound experiences in very simple things. Once, while distributing Holy Communion to a mother holding a child, he blurted out: “I want some of that.” We both laughed and I proceeded to distribute Communion to the next person.
I thought of this incident during the closure of public worship when folks were asking me when we were going to reopen for public worship and telling me how hungry they were for the Eucharist. Shouldn’t we all desire to have the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, every day? What causes us to lose our taste for the Bread of Life? We fail to participate in Sunday Mass regularly preferring other activities, or perhaps just caught up in them. More tragically we, who receive the Body of Christ, fail to live Eucharistic lives. It is something we do in church but has little impact on our daily lives. We do not become what we eat; we fail to be the Body of Christ with one another and for one another. That child’s statement can be a point of reflection and examination of conscience for all of us.
Do we hunger for the life of Christ? What do we often settle for rather than seek the life of Christ? What do we find more attractive or desirous than the life of Christ that is ours in the Eucharist?
In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, the apostles, perhaps trying to prevent a food fight, tell Jesus to dismiss the crowd that is hanging on his every word so that they can get food for themselves. Imagine their surprise when Jesus replies: “Feed them yourselves.” Years later St. John would echo this story when the Risen Lord tells St. Peter three times to “Feed my Sheep” as a sign of his love for him. All they could see was the impossibility of the task and the inadequacy of their resources. All Jesus could see was the possibility of God’s grace. He was the experience of God’s grace and love in their lives. In the multiplication of the loaves and fish he showed them, and shows us, that if we entrust whatever resources we might have to the Lord, they will be more than enough to meet the challenge of every day. Our spiritual journeys are about moving from the blindness that only allows us to see our impossibilities to the vision of faith that allows us to see and desire the possibilities of God for us.
To paraphrase that young child, do we want some of that? If we do, it is ours in Jesus the Lord. St. Paul asked the Christians in Rome, a revealing and piercing question: “What will separate us from the love of God?” He lists their many answers in Sunday’s second reading. We probably have our own list. Ultimately, Paul knew that only one thing can separate us from God’s love: ourselves. We can choose to deflect, ignore, deny, or run away and hide from God’s love. Many have tried—Adam and Eve, Jonah, St. Peter, to name a few—only to find that when they tired of running and hiding, God’s love was still there for them. Why would we do that?
When we have developed our taste for a Eucharistic life, when we embrace and appreciate God’s faithful love, we discover the possibilities of God in our lives. We recognize that we can welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, care for those in need, respect everyone’s life, and be the presence of Christ for our world. Do you want some of this?
May God’s Peace be Yours,