Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (August 19, 2018): Being consumed without being destroyed

Thứ Bảy, 18-08-2018 | 15:26:33

Today’s Readings:

Proverbs 9:1-6
Ps 34:2-7
Ephesians 5:15-20
John 6:51-58

USCCB Podcast of the Readings:

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.

Jesus said to the crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day. 
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. 
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven. 
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Good News Reflection: Being consumed without being destroyed

In this Sunday’s Gospel reading, we hear the Great Eucharistic Command. Jesus says: “Those who feed on me will have life because of me.” What kind of life? What’s the difference between having his life and the one you were born with?

Jesus gives us his body and blood in every Mass so that we can consume him in his entirety — all of his humanity and all of his divinity. He wants us to be nourished abundantly by his love. He wants us to receive his strength when we endure trials, his healing when we suffer wounds, and most of all, his life, not just when we go to Heaven, but here and now on Earth.

Consuming Jesus should transform us into his likeness. If we truly believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus our Savior, then why would we leave Mass unchanged?

By consciously participating in the Penance Rite at the beginning of Mass, actively listening to the readings of the Word of God, sincerely praying with the priest, and trusting in the power of God when we say, “Lord, I am not worthy … but say the word and my soul shall be healed,” and then consuming the Eucharist with humility and awe, we become one with his body and blood.

Now we, too, are his body and blood on earth, ready for others to consume us, or to put it more accurately, giving them the opportunity to be nourished by the True Presence of Jesus within us.

When we give love to others, they receive God’s love. When they fail to return that love, we are being consumed! We are giving more than we’re receiving. Similarly, when we give of our time and talents for the sake of God’s kingdom without being paid or rewarded, we are being Eucharist. We are one in body and blood with Jesus.

Being consumed without being destroyed is possible only if we receive from Jesus what others fail to give to us. This is why the Eucharistic celebration of Mass is our true nourishment. It needs to be the source and the summit of our lives.

Questions for Personal Reflection:
How similar to Jesus are you? What in God’s personality do you need to consume more of so that you can become more like him? Ask for it whenever you go to Mass!

Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Share the story of a time when you gave more than you received. How was this Christ-like? Why does it mean you were Eucharist for others? How does receiving Jesus during Mass fill us up so that we can continue giving without being depleted?

Today’s Prayer:

My Lord Jesus: I beg you to never lose sight of the treasure You have left us in Your Body and Your Blood. I beg you that, throughout my life, in joy and in trial, I always choose You as my true food. Amen.

© 2018 by Terry A. Modica

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