A HOMILY FOR THE TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE”B”- 8/16/15 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
So many times we have special days, special occasions, and special events to remind us of what’s most important, what’s of greatest value. For example, we have wedding anniversaries to remind us of our love and our commitment to our spouse. We have thanksgiving to remind us to always have grateful hearts and always turn back to God to give thanks. We have birthdays to remind us of how special the people are that we love and appreciate. We have April Fool’s day to remind us all that we need to have a sense of humor. We have St. Patrick’s Day to sell green beer. No, really, we have St. Patrick’s Day to remind all of us that each and everyone of us need to be a missionary in the world. But the reminders are good. These events do keep us connected to the way that we are supposed to be living. And without a lot of these special occasions, these special times, we would forget.
Every three years in the summer, when we are reading the Cycle “B” readings for Sunday, we read together as Church the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John, the Bread of Life series, that is such a great reminder to all of us, of how important the Holy Eucharist really. The Church does this every three years because the Gospel of St. Mark, which is the Gospel that we read in Year B is so much shorter, than Matthew and Luke, that we can actually read several portions of St. John’s Gospel in the same year. But even more, the Church does this every three years, because honestly we, as Catholic Christians, do need to remember what an extraordinary gift we have in the Holy Eucharist and the Mass. Just like so many other things, if we don’t have the reminder, we will forget.
Jesus gives us the gift of Himself in the Holy Eucharist so that He truly is the Bread of Life. The Mass, and the Holy Eucharist, become our way to have God with us always. In this Sacrament, God offers His people, you and me, this powerful source of strength to live the Christian life. Can you be a Christian and not eat the Bread of Life? Yes, you can. But why would you want to? This is the Bread that came down from Heaven. Those who eat of this Bread, will live forever. I think that we get, we understand, only a tiny fraction of how important the Bread of Life is to our spiritual lives. Padre Pio used to say, if we really understood, if we really “got” what is going on here, we come up to Communion bowed down on our faces, rather than walking up here on our feet. This is God in our presence, at Mass, in the Tabernacle, and in Eucharistic Adoration.
The Bread of Life series reminds all of us of how important it really is for us to come to Mass every Sunday. It reminds us to be respectful the Eucharist at all times. These readings challenge us to come to Mass on time and to stay until Mass is finished. And they remind us of how important our prayer together at Mass really is.
Liturgical prayer is not easy. Trying to pray together as God’s people with all our different likes and dislikes is not easy at all. And yet, every Sunday, the Mass brings all of us together to meet Jesus and have Him come into our lives once again. As a Church, we are constantly striving to pray better together.
For this reason, our Diocese is continuing to make revisions to the way that we pray together at Mass. Last week, we started kneeling throughout the Communion procession. This week, we go back to starting the Communion procession from the front of the church first, and then working our way to the back, with the very back rows of pews, now coming to Communion last. So for today we can that the first will be first and the last will be last.
Again, our goal is to pray together, and to be more in line with what the rest of the Church is doing, so that no matter where we go in the world, and no matter what language the Mass is in, that the Mass should look and sound pretty much the same wherever you go. Hopefully the new Diocesan changes will make that more a reality.
+ May God bless all of us this week, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!