Bottom line: An "evolutionary leap" has happened. The question is whether you and I will get onboard - baptism, belief and the Eucharist.
I have to admit I've been thinking a lot about Sr. Barbara and Fr. Narciso. I miss them and wonder: What would it be like to meet them again? A lot of my memories are connected with meals: With Sister Barbara enjoying lunch in a Mexican restaurant. At the rectory Fr. Valencia cutting veggies for a salad while I prepare linguine with Prego Sauce, mushroom and peas.
Today's Gospel gives some hope food might be part of the future life. Jesus eats a piece of baked fish. And the Bible repeatedly describes heaven as a lavish banquet. I suspect, however, that we will have other kinds of pleasure when that time comes.
In his book on Holy Week, Pope Benedict speaks about the Resurrection as "something akin to an evolutionary leap." By Jesus' dying then rising, the pope says, "a new dimension of life emerges - a new dimension of human existence. He quotes an early third century writer who said that because of the Resurrection "spirit and blood now have a place within God."
We see this in St. Paul: In his prison letters (Col 1:12-23 and Eph 1:3-23) he speaks about the cosmic body of Christ. Paul indicates that Jesus' transformed body is the place where people enter into communion with God and one another. Whatever relationship I have with Sr. Barbara and Fr. Valencia - or one of you - it will only be in Jesus.
That relationship, we can be sure, will be pleasurable beyond imagining. The big question, though, is how we get there. C.S. Lewis has some provocative thoughts. Like Pope Benedict he draws a comparison from the theory of evolution. He notes that people ask when the next step of evolution - the step to something beyond man - will happen. "But on the Christian view," say Lewis, "it has already happened. In Christ a new kind of man has appeared, and a new kind of life which began in Him is to be put into us."
Then Lewis explains that there are "three things that spread Christ's life into us": Baptism, belief and the mysterious action of Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord's Supper." We began the Easter season with the baptism of adults, then we each renewed our baptism by renouncing sin and professing faith. The culmination of Christian life happens in the Eucharist. Today's Gospel has a reference to that Sacrament - we hear the disciples telling about Jesus making himself known in the breaking of the bread.
Sometimes people tell me they get distracted and bored at Mass. I try not to take it personally. People have even told me they wish I was more like Bishop Eusebio. I respond that I am just as on fire as he is - but he is the Latin version and I am the Scandinavian version!
Bland does have a good side. Three or four days a week I have breakfast of oatmeal, apples and nuts. I'd prefer bacon and eggs, but I have it on good authority that a regular portion of grains and nuts makes for a healthier life. Likewise I have it on good authority that if I eat Jesus' body and drink his blood I will have his life within me. This language of eating and drinking implies not a rare event but something a Christian would do often - weekly, maybe even daily.
To use the words of Pope Benedict and C.S. Lewis an "evolutionary leap" has happened. The question is whether you and I will get on board - baptism, belief and the Eucharist. As St. John writes, "The way we may be sure we know him is to keep his commandments." Amen.
From Archives (Third Sunday of Easter, Year B):
Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C
Audio Files of Homilies (Simple Catholicism Blog)
Take the Plunge Bible Study (audio resources) *New episodes for Ordinary Time leading up to Lent*
Are these homilies a help to you? Please consider making a donation to St. Mary of the Valley Parish.
Other Priests' Homilies, Well Worth Listening:
Fr. Frank Schuster
Fr. Brad Hagelin
Fr. Jim Northrop
Fr. Michael White
Fr Pat Freitag (and deacons of St. Monica)
Bishop Robert Barron
Bulletin (St. Mary of Valley Parish)
Parish Picture Album
Divine Mercy Novena (print ready in English & Spanish)
MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru