Sunday, August 09, 2015

Sunday word, 09 Aug 15

Turning Point
Nineteenth Sunday of the Year B (09 Aug 2015)
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
We can recall turning points in our lives. Some turning points offer hope for the future—graduation, a new job, reconnecting with a friend; others cut deeply—personal failure, pink-slips, illness, death of dear ones and acquaintances. Turning points affect us strongly; at times people want to run away. Our turning points help us appreciate Prophet Elijah. He had become afraid and fled for his life.1 During his turning point God’s bread nourished Elijah. God strengthened Elijah to continue his ministry and life.

Throughout the bible nourishing and strengthening describe God’s care for those who trust God. Jesus fulfilled God’s desire to nourish us in an unmatched way: the living bread come down from heaven. Our living bread is available to us in Jesus’ eucharist.

Jesus’ eucharist is his self-gift to us as he said: my body…my blood for you.2 As food and drink nourish our bodies Jesus’ self-gift to us in his eucharist nourishes our baptisms. Baptism united us with risen Jesus and sealed us with his Spirit for our salvation. His eucharist helps us put on Jesus each day. Jesus’ eucharist revives our Christian love3; his eucharist helps us think and behave in harmony with him. Sharing Jesus’ eucharist helps us grow in his friendship.4 

As our friendships with others affect how we live, think and act, sharing Jesus’ eucharist affects our daily living. Regularly sharing Jesus’ eucharist fashions us as Jesus’ presence for others. Regularly sharing Jesus’ eucharist helps us grow more free from bitterness, fury, anger, shouting…reviling and malice: things that wound individual Christians and Christian communities. Sharing Jesus’ eucharist clothes us instead with his compassion.

Regularly sharing Jesus’ eucharist offers new ways to see ourselves and others. Our vision is not limited by the familiar or the customary. Some of Jesus’ listeners that day were limited by the familiar: Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, I have come down from heaven?” Jesus’ words could find no home in them.

Faith is our word for our Christian vision. Faith frees us to see the world as God’s gift; faith frees us to see others as companions sharing life's journey; and faith frees us to see Jesus as our nourishment, our brother, our Lord, our Creator and Redeemer.

Regularly sharing Jesus’ eucharist is a turning point for us. His eucharist draws us closer and turns us to him; it also frees and empowers us to live as his presence wherever we may be.

In your daily 15 minutes with Jesus this week
  • Rest in our triune God.
  • Ask Mary and your patron saint to present you to Jesus.
  • Chat with him: praise him for dying and rising for you; thank him for giving you himself in his sacrament of the eucharist to turn you closer to him.
  • Ask him for grace to feel and know his friendly presence guiding you. 
  • Close saying slowly the Lord’s Prayer. His words, give us this day our daily bread, remind us our Triune God nourishes us to join Jesus’ mission for the life of our world.

Link to this homily’s Spiritual Exercise

  1. 1Kings 19.3. Verse before today’s reading; the reading may be used at a votive mass of the Holy Eucharist (Lectionary for Ritual Masses, [976. 6]).
  2. Luke 22.19-20.
  3. Catechism of the Catholic Church [CIC] 1394.
  4. CIC 1395.

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