Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1: 1 Kgs 19:4-8
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Reading 2: Eph 4:30—5:2
Alleluia: Jn 6:51
Gospel: Jn 6:41-51
When someone has a vice in life, or a particular sin, I like to put this example of the first reading from the prophet Jeremiah to them. Life is long; it is an adventure and a journey that we all must undertake. Sometimes our own faults and sins oppress us. Jeremiah was not the exception, he was discouraged and wanting to die. But God says to the prophet through the angel, get up and eat, recover your strength, put yourself together, that you have a long way to go.
When a person has a particular sin that has become a habit, it is necessary to do the opposite of what Jeremiah did, meaning “We do not need to feed the habit with more sinful actions.” We need to let that habit die, not to feed it, because if we continue to feed it, it will remain with us for the rest of our lives. Let’s cut it off at the root, so that that particular sin may die. Instead of feeding our bad habits, we need to focus on how to feed our soul with the bread that came down from heaven, the bread that gives eternal life, the bread that helps us all to continue living a life of grace.
Today’s readings tell us about the gift of God through the Eucharist. God in the person of Christ feeds us with his Body and Blood to help us grow in holiness, patience, joy, love and all the good things that make us happy.
San Agustin. The holy bishop of Hippo, in his meditation on the Eucharist, gave us a passage, where he tells us about his faith and his love for the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. These are his words:
“Oh mystery of love! Oh sign of unity! Oh bond of charity! Who wants to live knows where his life is, he knows where his life comes from. Let him come closer, let him believe and be incorporated into this Body, so that he may participate in his life … Do not deviate from the union with the members … Be united to the Body so that he may live of God and for God” (In Io 26, 13 ).
That is why, when a person stops attending Mass, stops receiving communion, little by little that person separates itself from the truth, from the life, from the unity that brings us all together, from the grace that God gives. Therefore sin begins to find a place in the heart of the person.
The Mass is a mystery of love according to Saint Augustine. In the Gospel of John we read:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16).
Therefore Saint Augustine is so right to say that Mass is a mystery of love. Because love is the greatest of all the attributes of God, “Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love” (1 Jn. 4:8). If we do not have love, we’re dying. One can only find intimacy with the loved one. This intimacy is achieved only through the Love of God. Our Heavenly Father bestows this Love through the Grace of His Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ and by the mystical work of the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giver. The closer we get to the bread from heaven, to the holy of holies we will grow in perfect love for God and his will in our lives.
I do not know if you know someone who has never experienced love in their lives, how does is person? How does that person behave and act? God’s love is at constant work in the Church, in his people and in the world. The only way we will begin to have clarity in our lives is if we acknowledge the thing that should be most clear, God’s unique love for us.
The Mass is a sign of unity, in every Eucharistic prayer we pray for unity:
“Humbly we pray that, partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, we may be gathered into one by the Holy Spirit” (E.P. II).
Even more clearly in the Gospel of Matthew we read:
“Therefore if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift” (Mt. 5:23-24).
Have you ever wondered why so many people do not want to practice their faith? Because it is very challenging, the love of God, the teachings of the Church are so challenging that many people decide to give up and quit. We who are many form one body, the mystical body of Christ, the presence of Christ in earth. We need to live in unity and peace with one another.
One of the fruits of Holy Communion is that we are all united to Christ, that we develop a profound intimacy with him, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” (CCC. #1391; Jn. 6:57).
There is a song that goes something like this, “The road is long
there are mountains in our way, but we climb a step every day”. Therefore, we need to get up and eat the bread from heaven just like Jeremiah to continue with our journey of faith, love and unity. Not only that, this bread from heaven is waiting for you to adore him in a personal way in adoration.