Today's reading is a small portion of the Book of Proverbs which tries to give us words of God's wisdom to live by. The reading imagines Wisdom as a woman who has provided a plentiful table of meat and wine. All who lack wisdom are invited to leave their folly behind them and come to the banquet where something wonderful awaits them. The point the reading is making is that we have a choice to make: living according to the wisdom of God or living out our own foolish ways. It surprises us that God offers us his wisdom free of cost, we only have to come to him and it is ours for the asking. Will we live our life in partnership with God or do we think that we can manage on our own?Just in Case Living as we did in a congested and bustling city, my mother arranged with a teenage girl who lived next door to walk me home at the end of the day. For this arduous responsibility, the girl was paid five cents a day, or a grand total of a quarter a week. In the second grade I became irritated that our poor family was giving this neighbour girl so much money, and I offered a deal to mom. "Look", I said, "I’ll walk myself to school and if you give me a nickel a week, I will be extra careful. You can keep the other twenty cents and we'll all be better off." I pleaded and begged and eventually my mother gave in to my proposal. For the next two years I walked to and from school all by myself. It was an eight-block walk with many streets to cross, but I crossed them all with great care. I didn't talk to strangers. I always kept on the appointed path. I always did as I promised and did it alone –or so I thought. Years later when we were enjoying a family party, I bragged about my characteristic independence and, in a grandiose fashion, reminded my family of how I had been able to take care of myself, even as a small boy. I recalled the arrangements for going to school that I had worked out with mom. It was then that my mother laughed and told me the whole story. "Did you really think that you were alone?" she asked. "Every morning when you left for school, I left with you. I walked behind you all the way. When you got out of school at 3.30 in the afternoon, I was there. I always kept myself hidden, but I was there and followed you all the way home. I just wanted to be there for you in case you needed me. Mom was always there for me…
Tony Campolo from 'What My Parents Did Right'
In the gospels of the past Sundays we have seen Jesus proclaiming that the bread of life, his teachings, was more important than the Torah, the Law which the Israelites held sacred. In today’s Gospel Jesus proclaims that He is more important than anything else. "I am the living bread from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread which I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Unlike the Israelites who ate manna, the food prepared and provided by God, here, we do not have food provided by God, but God himself becomes the food that sustains us. Unlike food that becomes part of us when we eat, we are invited to become part of God by receiving His Son in the Eucharist. The people refused to accept the invitation of Jesus saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" We too in so many ways have the same reaction. "Do I really need God in my life so much? I think I can manage most of the time; I only need him in emergencies. I have enough resources of my own to get along."
Why bring God in the picture?
Upon the mountain top lived a kind and gentle God and in the village far below, lived his people. They were a very busy people, with books to read, games to play and many meetings to attend to. They seldom thought about the kind and gentle God, so far away did he seem. No one had seen his face and some doubted he was even there at all. One day, God looked on his own and wanted very much that they should be friends. 'I must do some small things' he thought, 'to show them that I care.' And each day he sent a messenger to the village, with a pack upon his back, and in the pack was a gift for everyone in the village. Each day the gifts arrived and each day the people ran with open arms to gather them. Soon, however, they got used to being gifted. Some began to grab the gifts from the pack, some took more than they were meant to have, and some complained of the gifts that were too small. Far up on the mountain sat God. Day after lonely day he waited for a word of thanks, for a friendly word, or just recognition that he was there. But no word came. 'If only I can tell them that I am', God thought, 'How can I tell them I am a friend, and that I want to give them friendship most of all?' And then his eyes lit up. 'I know', he said, 'I'll give a party for my friends below. I'll give a party and invite them all. Surely if they spend some time with me, and learn to know how much I care, then of course they will come to know that I am their friend.' And so the invitations were sent out. Some just laughed and said, 'That's not for me! And some said, 'Spend a day with God? No way!' And some were very busy with their chores and said, 'Some other time maybe, but not today.' Some were tempted. 'Maybe it is for real, and maybe God wants to be my friend.' Timidly, they signed up for the day. But when the others laughed, they became embarrassed, and withdrew their names. The party day arrived, but no one showed up. And in his mountain home, the kind God sat. 'I only want to give them love', he said. How can I tell them? Make them understand? Is there no one who wants me for their friend?' And below the people laughed and cried. They worked and played and died. And seldom if ever did they think of the gentle God who loved them so very much.
Jack McArdle from 'And that's the Gospel truth'
Touching the Body of Christ!
Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a rule that when a newcomer arrived to join her Order, the Missionaries of Charity, the very next day the newcomer had to go to the Home of the Dying. One day a girl came from outside India to join. So Mother Teresa said to her: 'You saw with what love and care the priest touched Jesus in the Host during Mass. Now go to the Home for the Dying and do the same, because it is the same Jesus you will find there in the broken bodies of our poor.' Three hours later the newcomer came back and, with a big smile, said to her, 'Mother, I have been touching the body of Christ for three hours.' 'How? What did you do?' Mother Teresa asked her. 'When I arrived there,' she replied, 'they brought in a man who had fallen into a drain, and been there for some time. He was covered with dirt and had several wounds. I washed him and cleaned his wounds. As I did so I knew I was touching the Body of Christ.' -To be able to make this kind of connection we need the help of the Lord himself. It is above all in the Eucharist that he gives us this help.
Flor McCarthy, in 'New Sunday & Holy Day Liturgies'
"He didn’t know I had made my communion..."
I like the story of a little orphan, Joe. Joe went to be examined by the orphanage doctor. When he came back the nun asked, "What did the doctor say to you Joe?" And Joe answered, "He said to me, 'What a miserable little specimen you are.'" And Joe added, "But, Sister, I don't think he knew I had made my first communion." -You see that's what gives us value. You and I don't need to fight and fume to win love and respect. For God who made us, likes us so very much –even if we are really not very likeable –that he comes to us in communion and comradeship.
Edwin White in 'Quotes and Anecdotes'
Places at the Table
Once there was a wealthy merchant who had his newly married son and his wife living in his household. The son had a kind heart, and devoted himself to charitable works, helping every poor person who asked for his assistance. In time the young wife gave birth to a son. In honour of the occasion, the happy grandfather arranged a great feast. Shortly before festivities were about to begin, the son asked, "Tell me father, what arrangements have you made for the seating of the guests? If you do the conventional thing and seat the rich at the head table and the poor near the door, it will distress me. You know very well how I love the poor. As this is my celebration, let me honour those who get no honour. Promise me, then, to seat the poor at the head table and the rich at the door." His father listened attentively and replied, "My son, it is difficult to change the world. Look at it this way: Why do poor people come to a feast? Because they are hungry and would like to eat a good meal. And why do rich people come to a feast? To get honour. They don't come to eat, because they have enough at home. Now just imagine what would happen if you seated the poor at the head table. They would sit there, very self-consciously, feeling everybody's eyes on them, and so would be ashamed to eat their fill. And what they'd eat they wouldn't enjoy. Don't you think it would be better for their sake, to eat to their heart's content without being ashamed? Then again, suppose I agreed to do what you're asking and seat the rich at the door; Don't you think they'd feel insulted? They don't come for the sake of the food, but for the honour. And if you don't give them that what will they get?" -The Eucharist is the banquet Jesus provides for his followers. All of us come to this banquet hungry; all of us need the bread that only Jesus can give – the bread of eternal life. And all of us come here poor before God. Here all of us are nourished. And all of us are honoured, because here every place is a place of honour.
Flor McCarthy in 'Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies'
Piers Paul Read's best seller Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors tells the true story of Uruguayan rugby players who chartered a plane to fly from Uruguay to Chile to compete in a tournament. Flying out on October 12th 1972, their airplane crashed over the snow-capped Andes Mountains. Out of forty passengers only a handful survived. Lost in the snowy Andes for two months, when all food supplies were exhausted, the weaker players sensed that death was near. Thus, they begged their companions to eat their flesh after they were dead. Surviving on the flesh of their friends, the few who remained alive tearfully narrated how their friends wanted them to survive by consuming their flesh. The Uruguayan rugby players offered their flesh to friends after death so that they could stay alive. Jesus challenges us to be flesh-and-blood Christians before death so that everything, everyone, everywhere may be fully 'Alive'.
Francis Gonsalves in 'Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds'
From Fr. Tony Kadavil & Seromns.com
1: Touching the body of Christ!
Mother Teresa of Calcutta had a rule that when a newcomer arrived to join her Order, the Missionaries of Charity, the very next day the newcomer had to go to the Home of the Dying. One day a girl came from outside India to join the Order. Mother Teresa said to her: "You saw with what love and care the priest touched Jesus in the Host during Mass. Now go to the Home for the Dying and do the same, because it is the same Jesus you will find there in the broken bodies of our poor." Three hours later the newcomer came back and, with a big smile, said to her, "Mother, I have been touching the body of Christ for three hours." "How? What did you do?" Mother Teresa asked her. "When I arrived there," she replied, "they brought in a man who had fallen into a drain, and been there for some time. He was covered with dirt and had several wounds. I washed him and cleaned his wounds. As I did so I knew I was touching the body of Christ." To be able to make this kind of connection we need the help of the Lord himself. It is above all in the Eucharist that he gives us this help.
2: Cannibalism in the Andes:
In October, 1972, a plane carrying 46 passengers an Uruguayan rugby team and their families and supporters to an exhibition game in Chile crashed in the Andes. NandoParrado, one of the survivors, tells the story of their 72 day struggle against freezing weather and dangerous avalanches in the book Miracle in the Andes.[Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home is a 2006 book by Nando Parrado and Vince Ra.] The author's mother and sister were among those killed in the crash. High in the Andes, with a fractured skull, eating the raw flesh of his deceased teammates and friends, Parrado calmly pondered the cruelties of fate, the power of the natural world and the possibility of his continued existence: "I would live from moment to moment and from breath to breath, until I had used up all the life I had," he wrote. The 16 survivors had nothing to eat except the flesh of their dead teammates. After two months, Nando, an ordinary young man – a rugby player - with no disposition for leadership or heroism, led an expedition of the remaining three of the survivors up the treacherous slopes of a snow-capped mountain and across forty-five miles of frozen wilderness in an attempt to find help. The party was finally rescued by helicopter crews. It was difficult for them to decide that eating human flesh was all right, even in those extreme circumstances! Hence, it is not surprising that Jesus’ listeners protested against his invitation to eat his flesh and drink his blood as described in today’s Gospel. (http://www.viven.com.uy/571/eng/default.asp)
3: Food pyramids:
New standards for diet were proposed recently. A new food pyramid was developed as a guide for healthy eating. It includes a base of bread, cereals, rice and pasta. The next level up the pyramid is vegetables and fruit. A still smaller next level is milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and nuts. The smallest group at the top is fats, oils and sweets. We can propose a food pyramid for those who want a healthy spiritual life. You may want to develop your own, but it might include a base of feeding on the Word of God in the Eucharist and by study and meditation on the Scriptures. Upon that base one is nourished by Christian fellowship. It should include servings of regular worship. To that a daily use of prayer and devotions could be added. On top of those elements should be time for Christian service to meet the needs of others.
4. Your words and your life:Years ago, Harry Emerson Fosdick, then at the height of his influence as minister of the Riverside Church, New York City, was making a tour of Palestine and other countries of the Near and Middle East. He was invited to give an address at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, where the student body comprised citizens of many countries and representatives from sixteen different religions. What could one say that would be relevant or of interest to so mixed and varied a group? This is how Fosdick began: "I do not ask anyone here to change his religion; but I do ask all of you to face up to this question: What is your religion doing to your character?"
This was a call to consider one of the great issues of human belief: religion and life, Christianity and character, word and spirit. Emerson once said, "What you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear a word you say." Jesus' discourse in this whole sixth chapter of the Gospel of John had two foci - spirit and life. "The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life." By this he meant that those who appropriated his spirit, i.e., fed upon him as the bread of life, would find, thereby, a fulfillment and satisfaction no other means could give.
The traditions of the world of his time, of course, had a different emphasis..._______________________
5.Have you ever been assaulted by a smell?
Walking down the street, creeping out of a vent in the sidewalk; strolling along the mid-way of a carnival or fair, wafting its way from a kiosk - sometimes an odor will "hit you" and almost send you reeling. Sometimes that odor will even thrust your psyche back into another time and place.
Maybe it's the sweet smell of caramel apples.Maybe it's the pungent punch of garlic and onion.
Maybe it's moldy and murky smell of a basement.
Maybe it's the seaweedy smell of the beach.
Whatever the odor, it is officious - meaning, it is "large and in charge." It teleports you back to a particular place and a particular time. Each of us has memory smells. Our sense of smell is the physical sense most associated with memory. Smells, more than sounds, more than sights, more than touches, transport our minds and bodies back in time to an imprinted memory. Garlic brings you back to your grandmother's kitchen. A wet woolen smell brings you back to the locker room-or to the terror of the day you fell in a frozen pond and almost drowned. Rising yeast smells like every Sunday dinner. Gasoline chokes you with memories of a car crash. Nothing evokes strong emotions, strong memories, strong longings, like the sense of smell. It is a powerful communicator to our inner being.
In the days of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, burnt offerings were the norm - small birds, little lambs, calves, great grains - all were sacrificed and burned. Burnt sacrifice was offered to appease God's righteous anger over the sins and transgressions the people of Israel had committed...
6. Life-giving bread in heaven’s buffet:
This 85-year- old couple, having been married almost 60 years, had died in a car crash. They had been in good health for the last ten years, mainly due to their interest in healthful food and exercise.
When they reached the Pearly Gates, St. Peter took them to their mansion, which was decked out with a beautiful kitchen, a master bath suite and a Jacuzzi. As they "ooohed and aaahed,” the old man asked Peter how much all this was going to cost. "It's free," Peter replied, "this is Heaven." Next they went to see the championship golf course that their heavenly home backed up to. St. Peter told them they would have golfing privileges every day. The old man asked, "What are the greens fees?"
Peter's reply, "This is heaven; you play for free." Next they went to the clubhouse and saw a lavish buffet laid out for them. "How much does it cost to eat?" asked the old man. "Don't you understand yet? This is heaven! It's free!" Peter replied. "Well, where are the low fat and low cholesterol foods?" the old man asked timidly. Peter smiled and said, "That's the best part...you can eat as much as you like of whatever you like and you never get fat and you never get sick. This is Heaven."
The old man looked angrily at his wife and said, "You and your oat brans and whole wheat! I could have been here ten years ago!”
6) Abiding with Christ
Eat this Bread and you will live, he promises. But even more than that, eat this Bread and I will abide with you, and you will abide with me. I like that word abide. I have pictures again: look, can you see them? They are images of home, of dwelling, of staying with, of living in and with, of trusting and being there. To abide is to know that no matter what comes our way, we will not be deserted nor left to face whatever the matter is on our own. Christ comes to live within us, to take up residence in our spirits, and promises not to leave.
Over the years I have witnessed many scenes of this abiding presence played out in the lives of persons I have known. None are more powerful, more moving, more meaningful than the images which walk across my mind of faithful spouses who care for each other to the very end. Let me draw them for you. There is one now, walking his wife, a victim of Alzheimer's disease, down the streets in front of the nursing home. She in a wheelchair, not knowing a thing. He pushing her faithfully day after day. Their love of more than 60 years abides in his heart. Here is another: the picture of a woman standing beside the bed of her husband, holding a hand, offering a calm, reassuring voice to this one who has only moments before been thrown into convulsions. "I will not leave you." Finally, here is the unspoken presence of a Loving Friend who calms my own grieving spirit in the dark hospital room where my father lays dying. "Those who eat my flesh? abide in me, and I in them (John 6:56, NRSV)."
In a world of fast food chains in every village, of drive-through windows, of buffet lines and all-you-can-eat salad bars, we are today offered a different food, the Bread of Life. It is food for a hungry soul. It is eternal food which, when you eat it, satisfies the craving of your heart and opens your eyes to see that all else is imitation and second rate.
Larry M. Goodpaster, Like a Breath of Fresh Air, CSS Publishing Company
7) O, Lord Give Me a Penny
A man asked God, "What does a billion dollars mean to you who are all powerful?"
"Hardly a penny." God said.
Then the man asked God , "And what are a thousand centuries to you?" God answered "Hardly a second!!"
Thinking he had God backed into a corner, the man then said, "Then if that's the case, O, Lord give me a penny !!"
"Sure," God replied. "In just a minute."
Wisdom isn't outsmarting God, wisdom is living in and with God. Wisdom is being in Christ and surrounded by Christ. Wisdom is eating and drinking from the feast which God has prepared for us.
8) Bread Is Not a Mere Commodity
The theologian John Macquarrie relates that the Scottish churchman, George Macleod, used to watch grain ships from Canada and the United States bringing their cargoes of wheat into Liverpool harbor, and he reflected that the wheat has the potentiality of becoming the body of Christ. This is the point at which sacramental theology spills over into the market place. Bread is not a mere commodity; things are not mere bits of matter. We can learn something of this from natural theology, but we learn it above all from Jesus Christ, the bread of God which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
John Macquarrie, A Guide to the Sacraments, p,156
9) The Truth
There is an Irish saying, "the person who speaks the truth should have one foot in the stirrup." He should be ready to ride off at once. People do not like the truth, especially when it challenges their attitudes; and the reaction is often to try to destroy the evidence of the truth or the one who witnesses to it.
Father Gerry Pierse, The Dangerous Memory of Jesus
10) Dining with God
When Seymour passed away, God greeted him at the Pearly Gates. "Thou be hungry, Seymour?" said God.
"I could eat," Seymour replied.
So God opened a can of tuna and reached for a chunk of rye bread and they shared it. While eating this humble meal, Seymour glanced down into Hell and saw the inhabitants devouring huge steaks, lobsters, pheasants, pastries, and fine wines. Curious, but deeply trusting, Seymour remained quiet.
The next day God again invited Seymour for another meal. Again, it was tuna and rye bread. Once again looking down, Seymour could see the denizens of Hell enjoying caviar, champagne, lamb, truffles, and chocolates. Still Seymour said nothing.
The following day, mealtime arrived and God opened another can of tuna. Seymour could contain himself no longer. Meekly, he said: "God, I am grateful to be in heaven with you as a reward for the pious, obedient life I led. But here in heaven all I get to eat is tuna and a piece of rye bread and in the Other Place they eat like emperors and kings! Forgive me, O God, but I just don't understand."
God sighed: "Let's be honest, Seymour. For just two people does it pay to cook?"
Donel McClellan, The Imaginary God________________________
11) Meeting God
Barbara Brokhoff says in her book, Faith Alive, "The Happy Hour for the Christian should be the hour of worship on Sunday morning, but how do you honestly feel when you are awakened by the alarm on the Lord's Day and you realize it is another "Church Day"? Can you hardly wait for the service time to roll around or do you roll over in bed, moan and groan and cover your head, and wish that once, once again maybe once more like last Sunday the one before, you would, or could sleep in and forget the whole boring, time consuming thing?? Is the thought of worship agony or ecstasy? I think we are coming to meet God--not just anybody, but God!! Shouldn't the delightful suspense of worship make our breath short and our hearts beat faster?"
Barbara Brokhoff, Faith Alive, quoted by Tim Zingale, Wisdom = Being in Christ_____________________
12) Bread from Home
I'm reminded of a true story of a soldier who was severely wounded. When he was out of surgery, the doctors said that there was a good chance for recovery, except that the soldier wouldn't eat anything. The nurses and nuns tried everything, but he refused all food-drinking only water and juice.
One of his buddies knew why the soldier wouldn't eat-he was homesick. So, his friend, since the hospital wasn't too far from the soldier's home, offered to bring the young man's father to visit him. The commanding officer approved and the friend went to the parents' home. As the father was about to leave for the hospital, the mother wrapped up a loaf of fresh bread for her son.
Well, the patient was very happy to see his father but he still wouldn't eat-that is, until the father said; "Son, this bread was made by your mother, especially for you". The boy brightened and began to eat.
I think that you can guess where I'm going with that story. You and I are that boy. We are the ones who have been wounded in the battle of life. We are the ones who've been wounded by sin, by trials and pains, by loss and by our forgetfulness of God.
We lose our taste for the food that will strengthen our souls. Holy Communion gives us life, spiritual life, God's life. It gives us spiritual healing and spiritual strength. There was nothing 'magic' about the mother's bread unless, that is, one feels that 'love' is magic--which, of course, it is.
13) The Communion of Empty Hands
There's a beautiful incident recorded by Thomas Pettepiece, a Methodist pastor, who was a political prisoner, a prisoner of conscience. Pettepiece writes of his first Easter Sunday spent in prison. He was among 10,000 prisoners. Most of the men had lost everything: their homes, their jobs, their furniture, their contact with their families. It was Easter Sunday, and they wanted to celebrate Communion. But, they had no cup for Communion. They had no wine for Communion. They didn't even have water for Communion. Nor did they have any bread for the Sacrament.
So, they practiced the Communion of Empty Hands. "This meal in which we take part," Pettepeice said, "reminds us of the imprisonment, the torture, the death and final victory of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The bread is the body which he gave for humanity. The fact that we have none represents very well the lack of bread in the hunger of so many millions of human beings. The wine, which we don't have today, is his blood, and represents our dream of a united humanity, of a just society, without difference of race or class."
Then Pettepiece, the pastor, held out his empty hand to the next person on his right, and passed on the imaginary loaf. Each one took a piece and passed it on. Then he said, "Take, eat, this is my body, which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And together they ate the imaginary bread, trying to imagine tasting it.
After a moment they passed around the non-existent chalice, each imagining he was drinking from it. "Take, drink, this is the blood of Christ which was shed for you ... Let us give thanks, sure that Christ is here with us, strengthening us."
They gave thanks to God and then stood up and embraced each other. And a while later, one of the non-Christian prisoners came up to them and said, "You people have something special, which I would like to have." And the father of a girl who had died came up to Pettepiece and said, "Pastor, this was a real experience. I believe that today I discovered what faith is ..." (from Visions of a World Hungry, quoted in A Guide To Prayer, Rueben P. Job and Norman Shawchuck, editors, The Upper Room, p. 143).
Alex Gondola, Jr., Come As You Are, CSS Publishing Company.
14) Togetherness in the Eucharist
Bread suggests togetherness, care and love, hopes and dreams, fun and adventure.
Let's say some new friends invite you to their house for a meal. When you are a guest in their home, they are sharing their intimacy with you. They are sharing with you some of the privacy of that place where they live every day, eat every day, love every day, work on their problems, argue from time to time, sleep and depart for work and pleasure and return for rest, every day.
After graciously receiving you, they show you around their home in which they take deep pride. Then you go to the dining room for the meal. You find the table set with care, the food exceptionally delicious, and the conversation flows easily. Simply put, it becomes a lovely evening and you leave feeling full in every way. You enjoy bread from the kitchen, but much more. You enjoy the bread of being graciously received, the bread of informed and lively conversation, and the bread of being in beautiful surroundings..
Magnify that thousands of times and you begin to have a glimmer of what the church perceives the Holy Eucharist to be. In the Eucharist Jesus and "Bread of Life" are one. In the Eucharist bread and wine are the elements that nurture faith in God.
Charles R. Leary, Mission Ready!, CSS Publishing Company
15) Andrew Greeley:
One must not take this passage as a description of an actual dialogue between Jesus and some of those who followed him. Rather it doubtless refers to a difficulty in St. John’s community over the Eucharist and the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, a difficulty which has plagued the Church through it’s history, mostly because have tried to reduce mystery to prose, to explain the inexplicable.
The Eucharist demands faith at every time and place, but less faith in the how then in the fact of the presence of Jesus.
As the first reading suggests faith opens up the fonts of wisdom and feeds us with it.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
A young college student went to the Newman chaplain and said, I believe in God and in life after death and in resurrection and in the church, but I cannot accept that Jesus is really present, body and blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist.
I’m sorry, but I just can't.
The priest thought this was like swallowing the grizzly bear and straining at the gnat.
Resurrection, he said, is a humungous miracle. Real Presence is kind of ordinary in comparison. I don’t believe I really eat Jesus, the young man said. It’s just bread that’s all. You don’t eat Jesus, the priest replied, knowing that he had one of those kids who somehow or the other had run into an old fashioned teacher, one that still thought it was a sacrilege for anyone but a priest to touch the sacred host. The poor kid was really worried about how the doctrine of the real presence exposed Jesus to desecration if even a tiny piece was somehow lost. The priest went through a lot of theological explanations which did not satisfy the young man. I just have to understand how he works it out, the lad pleaded.
Have you figured out how God created the universe from nothing in the snap of a finger, the priest asked.
Of course not the young man replied. Then his voice faded off. Oh, I get it, he said softly. I’m not supposed to understand everything.
16) Unhappily few of the lines that follow are original. The majority belong to those writers known as Author Unknown. Where possible, I have identified the artist. He was conceived and born contrary to all biological law. He grew up to be a very bothersome man. He told the truth and it cost Him His life.
He could have avoided assassination by going fishing in Galilee for the weekend. He was often seen talking and laughing after His death. He remains forever a question mark with which people are never quite finished. Non-believers forever worry lest they might be wrong.
The Church He founded is discussed daily on the first pages of the major newspapers of the world.
What might He have accomplished had He lived to 50?
--------------17) As a babe, He terrified a king. As a youngster, He puzzled scholars. As a man, He intimidated a Roman governor. To borrow from GK Chesterton, He was constantly in hot water. He did not seem to mind. He felt it would keep Him clean.
He had no training in psychiatry. Yet, He has cured more minds and spirits than anyone else in history. Alexander, Caesar, and Napoleon established mighty empires by force. He began His with love and service. Theirs have disappeared. His remains. Statesmen have legislated on their turn. Artists and philosophers have reigned for a short period.
Some have said they were more popular than He. But their names are written in the sand. His is spoken with frequency by one billion followers.
Each week millions assemble to salute Him in the Eucharist. He spoke that last night to a small band of illiterate men as though the memorial ceremony would continue down through the centuries. History has proved Him correct.
He calls us to Liturgy both to remember Him and worship Him. The first food consumed on the moon was bread and wine consumed in His name.
Those who discover they cannot believe in Him live with sorrow. Those who believe but lack the courage to resemble Him survive with regret.
Though centuries separate us from Him, He is more vital than we. We will not even be memories in the next generation, but He will flourish.
He no longer stands in the dock. He has nothing to prove. He has survived the test of time. It is we who are on trial in our reaction to Him.
Unlike countless peoples who impacted society by jumping in front of it and going with the flow, He got in front of the parade to take it in the opposite direction.
He presides over the world like a Colossus. After almost a century in USSR gulags, He walks openly in Moscow, Kiev, and St Petersburg. No one seems surprised.
No historian can portray humanity honestly without giving Him, in HG Wells' words, the foremost place.
Millions utter His name upon rising. Other millions shout it throughout the day in anger or pain. For still other millions, it is the last name they whisper before they die and the first they expect to speak when they awaken in His presence.
Robert Griffin says He is the hero you could never invent. Angels rush to Him. Devils flee from Him.He not only pushed the envelope. He broke through it.
In a poor man's apparel, He pursues us always.
To borrow Tennessee William's language, He is the long delayed but always expected something we live for.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said His name is not so much written into the history of the world as plowed.Harry Emerson Fosdick says He changed BC into AD.
Albert Nolan suggests He has no interest in people theorizing about Him but rather reproducing Him in their lives.
Time magazine suggests that in His lifetime, He had no equal. It is the same today. It is not He who needs us. It is we who need Him.
18) Unaware of the Free Meal on Board:
There is a story of a very poor family who emigrated to the USA from Europe many years ago on an old fashioned ocean liner. Coming from an obscure country there was no one on board that could speak their language. They were down below the water-line in steerage. Having no experience of a sea voyage they brought enough hard bread and cheese to last the journey. One meal time the youngest son was missing after a while he came back after having eaten in the large dining room upstairs. The family were shocked but he assured them that another young boy whom he had met had explained to him in sign language that the meals were included in the price of the ticket.
The world is full of people like them totally unaware of the incredible Banquet of Life that God spreads for them each day in the Eucharist.
Jesus says: I am the Bread of Life, whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world.