Not Despair, but Repair

(Homily for Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B)

Bottom line: The Body of Jesus is bread for our journey.

First of all, I would like to thank you for your support of our parish, especially last Sunday's picnic and raffle. En the bulletin are full details on the results and how the earnings will help our Capital Campaign.

We are members of a community of faith and we must work together to realize our common goals. En today's Gospel we see the two pillars of our community. The first is faith itself. Jesus says that no one can come to him unless the Father draw him. Faith is a gift from God. We have to pray for that gift - for ourselves and for those we love.

At the same time we must recognize that our faith has a content - and that content is the second pillar of our community. Jesus tells that he is the living bread come down from heaven and that we must eat of him if we are to have lasting life.

There is no greater gift that Jesus can give than his own Body and Blood. I would like to explain this by an image from Christian art (you can see an example in one of our stain glass windows). The image shows a large bird called a pelican with three tiny pelicans below. They have their mouths open waiting for something, but the mother pelican has no food. So with her beak, she tears some flesh from her breast and drops of blood come out for her little ones. Jesus does something similar - but infinitely greater - for us. He gives us his own flesh and blood as food.

We need this food in order to arrive at our destination. We can see that in the first reading which foreshadows the Eucharist. The prophet Elijah was in the dessert and, in spite of being the first and greatest profet of Israel, he was sad. He thought his life was a failure and he only wanted to sleep, to lose consciousness and die. But God sent an angel who awoke him and at his head he found a hearth cake, cooked bread - and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then fell asleep again. This time it was not like his former drugged sleep; it was not a sleep of despair, but of repair. He rose and ate again and then walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God.

Jesus wants to give food for our journey - living bread which gives unimagined strength. For that reason he says, "I am the living bread come down from heaven. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have everlasting life.

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Spanish Version

From Archives (Homilies for 19th Sunday, Year B):

2018: Ephesians Week 5: Live in Love as Christ Loved Us
2015: Dimensions of the Eucharist Week 3: Forgiveness
2012: Why Jesus Came
2009: I Am the Bread of Life
2006: Not Despair, but Repair
2000: How to Receive Communion

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Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

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