Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

We continue our reading of John’s gospel chapter 6 what is traditionally called Discourse on the bread of life[1]I am uncomfortable with the qualification “discourse”. A discourse is explanatory.
Jesus explains nothing.
Jesus declares and invites.
Jesus invites to an encounter—hence His repetition.
Over and over Jesus says “I am the bread of life.”
Expecting a discourse, I would probably say,
“Ok, fine!  I hear you.  But what does that mean?!?”
If a discourse, Jesus would explain.
The repetitive declaration and invitation and the lack of explanation 
suggest that the only path to any level of comprehension is experiential.
Jesus must first be experienced/encountered before understood.
We are invited to relationship with God, with Jesus, the God-man.
And, from within the intimacy, within the embrace, we seek to grasp.
As Saint Anselm famously says, “Faith seeks understanding”[2].
Jesus reveals Himself as bread of life.
In other words, Jesus shares Himself like bread.
How does bread share itself?
Bread is the perfect servant[3].
If God is love—and love by nature gives, then it only makes sense.
Jesus comes to give us everything contained in His heart.
We, as a result, in being given everything, participate in His life. Now, the really “crazy” thing is what Jesus invents 
so to concretize this gift of Himself.
Catholics believe in the Eucharist.
Jesus is the Bread of Life, and He shares Himself.
He shares Himself—like bread—in many ways.
But we also believe that He shares Himself in a particular, particularly unsetting way. We believe that He gives a bread, concrete, unleavened bread, that communicates to us His flesh.
If the bread is somehow His flesh, then it is the whole Christ.
He is always whole, and wholly given.
If the Eucharist is this, is this amazing, then 
• Why such little fanfare on Sunday?
• Why is the Mass not more of an exciting event?
The Mass is an event, but the grandeur—source of excitement—is hidden.
The Mass contains a sacred secret.
And Jesus designed it thus.
At the Last Supper He said, Do this.
“This” was a simple meal,  
• Not a power rally
• Not an insane parade
• Not a rock concert with pyrotechnics (only totally real)
Jesus deliberately chose a simple meal—which can bore us after a while.
Jesus deliberately chose a simple meal because, in fact, 
it better suits the communication of His love.
How does it better suit the communication of His love?
1. The sharing is concrete and tangible.
2. As love deepens, love is increasingly interior, and thus silent.
Ah: silence.
At the heart of the Mass, we are silent.
At the heart of the Mass, we are silent because of this special Presence.
You will notice that, in churches which do not believe in this special Presence of Jesus that is the Eucharist, there is not much silence.
We come for Comm-union. It is important to situate, for we need realistic church expectations.
The expectation that we be “rocked” at Mass in unrealistic.
Jesus comes to do more than rock us.
Jesus comes to love us deep inside, in a way that breeds silence of heart.
We come to church not to be entertained or moved as at a show.
We come to be loved.
We come to hear God speak in the depths of our heart
(hopefully, to some extent, through the ministers!)
and to participate in this sacred meal, during which we experience the silence of divine love.
Thus, if we do not come to church from a place deep in the heart, 
we miss most of the encounter.
To come from a place deep in the heart, we must have our own prayer time outside of church.
Do we take time each day to be alone with the Lord?
Do we daily sit for a heart-to-heart with our truest soul Mate?
Some may ask “How?”
It is a very good question.
How are we to pray?
Saint Paul, in a sense, gets us “off the hook”.
In his letter to the Christians of Rome he tells us that we do not know how to pray, he also tells us that the Holy Spirit prays within us.
In other words, God enables us from within to communicate with Him.
All we must do is 
• Yield
• say “yes”
• want closeness
Our desire for relationship translates into time with God.
I invite you, if you do not already, to set aside 10 minutes each day.
Be alone with God.
“What do I do during the ten minutes—aside from daydream?” 
you may ask.
• Acknowledge the presence of God within you.
• Surrender to Him in faith, hope, and love.
• Read a few Scripture verses, as a springboard to God.
• Say what is on your mind and in your heart—honestly. 
• Listen deep inside to what may be whispering to you. The goal of your time in prayer is to abide in the Presence.
Abiding in the Presence, in the presence of God, 
leads to inner transformation.
God will love and enlighten you to the point of transformation.
Let us be transformed.
Let us be loved! ■

[1] Sunday 19th August, 2012, 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Proverbs 9:1–6. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord—Ps 33(34):2–3, 10–15. Ephesians 5:15–20. John 6:51–58 [St John Eudes].
[2] Saint Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) was the outstanding Christian philosopher and theologian of the eleventh century. He is best known for the celebrated “ontological argument” for the existence of God in chapter two of the Proslogion, but his contributions to philosophical theology (and indeed to philosophy more generally) go well beyond the ontological argument. In what follows I examine Anselm's theistic proofs, his conception of the divine nature, and his account of human freedom, sin, and redemption.
[3] The bread is entirely for the sake of the person who is to consume it. Jesus says in Matthew 20:28  “The Son has come not to be to be served,  but to serve and to give his life”. Jesus says here, The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris