Nineteenth Sunday in ordinary time (B)

In today’s first reading we come upon the prophet Elijah, fleeing in the desert from the terrible Queen Jezebel[1]. He was out of food and water.  More than that, he just didn’t have the fortitude to continue to do God’s work.  He laid down under that broom tree, and he said to God, “Look, I just can’t do this anymore. I’m no better than anyone who has come before me.  I just can’t continue your mission to Israel.” And he fell asleep, hoping to die. But the angel of the Lord woke Elijah and gave him food and water. Elijah fell asleep again, and again the angel of the Lord woke Elijah and told him to eat and drink. And, the reading concludes with the nourishment the Lord provided, he walked forty days and forty night to the mountain of God Horeb[2].

Like Elijah in the desert, there are times that all of us feel so spiritually drained that we wonder whether or not we have the strength to complete the particular mission the Lord has for us. There is a mountain we have to journey to, a mountain we have to climb. The mountain is God’s unique plan for each of us. There is a mystery in that although the plan is unique, it encompasses a position in life that we share with many people.  For example, many people are called to be parents, but each person is called to be a parent in a unique way.

The same came be said for all vocations in life. The plan is a mountain.  The journey is our lives.  It takes a tremendous amount of strength and determination to be a good husband or good wife, a good parent and even a good child, a good priest, or a good Teen.  It takes a great effort to be a true follower of Christ.  It takes a tremendous determination to allow God’s plan for us to take place.  It is much easier to just give up.

We have a gift far greater than Elijah received.  It is not an angel of the Lord that is telling us to take and eat.  It is Jesus Christ who gives us the nourishment we need to complete the work with which we have been entrusted. And we are not given just a hearth cake and water; we are given the very Body and Blood of the Lord to help us complete the journey of the Lord. We all, myself included, need to remind ourselves of the tremendous gifts we have received from God so we are able to serve Him. We have received the gift of Jesus Christ, the eternal Word become one of us. It is difficult for us to comprehend the depth of this gift.  Like the people in the Gospel, we often treat the Lord as a great man, but nothing more than a man. Perhaps, we have overemphasized the humanity of the Lord to such a point that we overlook His divinity.  Jesus is God, one with the Father and the Spirit at the creation of the universe.  The whole Gospel of John was written to combat the denial of the divinity of Christ. 

Our belief in the presence of the Lord in the Eucharist begins with our recognition of his divinity. If He were not God, He could not transform bread and wine into His body and blood. 

As we come to a greater awareness that the communion we receive is the Body of Christ, we realize that this divine nourishment is far more than a meal of fellowship. This is the food that provides the spiritual strength for us to make it through the week.

God does not demand the impossible from us. He does not give us more than we can handle. He gives us all that we need to complete the journey of our lives to His Mountain. The mountain is the goal of our lives. The mountain is the reason why He created each of us.  We have to believe in Him. We have to trust in Him. With the food that He gives us, His very body and blood, we can complete the journey: we can be good Christians and for some of us good priests and religious. With the nourishment He gives us, the Eucharist, we can live well and die well •

[1] Jezebel had sworn to kill Elijah in retaliation for Elijah’s killing the false prophets of Baal on Mt.  Carmel.  Elijah fled to the desert.  He would try to cross it.  He knew that the soldiers wouldn’t think he would go there.  No one could survive crossing the desert. That’s where we find Elijah in that first reading. Elijah had had enough. 
[2] 19th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B), August 9, 2015. Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8; Responsorial Psalm 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9;Ephesians 4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51.

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