August 9, 2015

A HOMILY FOR THE NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME-CYCLE”B”- 8/9/15 – SMG

+ Pax et Bonum!  Peace and goodness to you this day!

A good friend of mine, who is a priest, just got back from doing some missionary work in Tanzania.  These are not easy days for missionaries, most especially in Africa.  There’s Ebola and AIDS and so many other deadly diseases.  There are the radical Islamic groups that have killed, and tortured,  and terrified so many Christians.  And there’s the constant poverty, and hunger, and everything that goes with that poverty that has been like a weight tied around the neck of so many African nations.  And Tanzania has it pretty good compared to some of the others.  But the biggest concern that my friend talks about, now that he is home, is a lack of clean, drinkable water.  This is a huge problem in many parts of Africa.  In some countries, 90% of the water is contaminated and undrinkable.  You can’t wash with it.  You can’t cook with it.  And you certainly can’t drink it or give it to your children.  Of all the things that are going on in Africa right now, the one that was most concerning to my friend, was the lack of clean water.

And of course, this is surprising to us.  We seem to have limitless amounts of clean water around us all the time.  All we have to do is turn on a faucet, and it is right there in our kitchen or bathroom.  We might buy bottled water to drink, but it is usually more because we don’t like the taste of our water, and not its purity.  We take clean water for granted.  Every city, every town, has a whole organizational structure just to insure that we have clean water.  We have water treatment plants to make sure we have clean water coming into our towns, and clean water leaving our towns.  Clean water is NOT something that most of us think about, or worry about.  We just take it for granted.

Sometimes I wonder, if we don’t do the same thing the Eucharist and with Mass.  Today, once again, in our Gospel, from John chapter six, Jesus is reminding us that He Himself IS the Living Bread come down from Heaven.  He is the Bread of Life.  Do we take the Eucharist and the Mass so much for granted, that we treat it just like we do clean water?  It’s just always going to be there, and whenever we feel like it, we’ll take a big gulp?  My brothers and sisters, we don’t want to take this gift for granted.  What we are doing around this Altar is a BIG deal.  In the Holy Eucharist, God remains with us, He feeds us, and He is preparing us for eternal life.  People who truly eat, and value, and believe in this Sacrament, don’t die.  But they go on to live forever!

We need to respect, and treasure, and NOT take for granted this incredible offering, the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ,  How do we do this?  Well, so much of it is connected to our behavior at Mass.  We make a commitment to coming to Mass every Sunday?  Do we come to Mass on time and stay until the Mass is finished?  Do we dress appropriately for Mass?  Do we pay attention at Mass, or are we too busy paying attention to our cell phones?   Do we get rid of our chewing gum and keep the 1-hour fast before Mass?  There are hundreds of ways of keeping the Mass holy, and special, and to keep it from becoming just another thing that we do every week!

Our posture at Mass is also very important to showing our respect at Mass.  Today, we continue to put into place the changes that our Diocese is making to the way that we pray Mass.  This week, we go back to kneeling for the Communion Rite.  We kneel down together at the Elevation of the big Host by the priest, when he says, “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sins of the world, Blessed are those called to the Supper of the Lamb.”   Beginning today, we will stay kneeling until it is time for each of us to come up to Communion.  We should still pray for one another as we go to Communion, but now we will do so kneeling down.  After we receive Communion, we will go back to our seats and kneel down.  We will remain kneeling down until the priest starts the announcements, or the priest sits down at the Presider’s chair.  This week’s change is pretty easy.  Again, this is a going back to the way that things were done before 2003.  All of this is to help us pray better together.  And hopefully, to NOT take the Mass or the Eucharist for granted, in our lives!

+  May God bless us, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…                                  AMEN !!!

St. Maria Goretti…                            Pray for us !!!