Jump to content

Pastor's Letter 20200614 - 14 June 2020 Sharing Life with Christ

Recommended Posts



A Message from Father Michael

June 14, 2020

Feast of Corpus Christi

Today’s Theme:  “Sharing Life With Christ”

The Bread of Life

As human beings, we cannot live on bread alone.  We suffer from many kinds of hunger.  Turning to the Gospel, we find Jesus spoke of many kinds of “bread” offered to His people in order to satisfy their many hungers.

* To the people who followed him into the desert, and who were starving, He offered ordinary bread, and so satisfied their physical hunger (Matthew 14:31.)

* To the leper whose body was falling apart, He offered the only bread that mattered to him, that of physical healing (Mark 1:40-45.)

* To the lonely woman at Jacob’s well, He offered the bread of human kindness, and so satisfied her hunger for acceptance (John 4:4-26.)

* To sinners, He offered the bread of forgiveness to satisfy their hunger for salvation. 

* To rejects and outcasts, by mixing with them and sharing their bread, He offered the bread of companionship and bolstered their hunger for self-worth (Mark 2:13-17.) 

* To the widow of Nain, who was burying her son, and to Martha and Mary, who had just buried their brother Lazarus, He offered the bread of compassion, and showed them that even in death we are not beyond the reach of God’s help (Luke 7:7-17; John 11:38-44.)

* With Zacchaeus, the rich tax collector, who had robbed the bread from the tables of the poor, He began by inviting Himself to his table.  Then, having awakened with him a hunger to a better life, He persuaded him to share his ill-gotten gains with the poor.

* To the thief, who died at His side, He offered the bread of reconciliation with God, thus bringing peace to his troubled soul (Luke 19:1-10.) 

But, surprisingly, there were some who refused His offer of bread.

* There was the rich young man to whom He offered the bread of discipleship, but who refused it because he was not willing to part with his riches (Mathew 19:16-22.)

* There were Scribes and Pharisees to whom He offered the bread of conversion, not once, but several times.  They refused to eat even a crumb of it.

* The people of Jerusalem refused the bread of peace, which He offered them with tears in His eyes.  As a result, their city was destroyed.

* Pontius Pilate had no appetite for the bread of truth, which Jesus offered him, because it meant putting his position at risk.

* Jesus shared Himself with many others, in differing ways, and under many differing forms, before offering Himself to them as food and drink at the Last Supper.

Jesus nourishes us in so many ways, and of course, especially in the Holy Eucharist.  The presence of Christ becomes a problem only when we have lost our sense of His presence in all that is. Those who have a deep sense of God’s presence in the whole of creation will not have great difficulty in believing He is present in a very special way in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

God alone can satisfy all the longings and hungers of our hearts, because He, alone, can give us the “bread of eternal life.”  This is the bread we receive every time we partake of Holy Communion during Holy Mass, without which we would not have the strength to follow Jesus.

Not on Bread Alone 

Cardinal +Hume, of Westminster, tells about an incident, which happened during the terrible famine that occurred in Ethiopia, ca.1984-86.  Visiting a settlement in the hills where the people were awaiting a food shipment, which was unlikely to arrive. Disembarking from his helicopter, +Hume was greeted by a small boy, about 10 yrs old, wearing nothing but a loincloth, who took his hand and rubbed it on his cheek.   He remarked, “There was a child, lost and starving, probably an orphan, showing me at once his hunger for food and for love in one gesture.  I have never forgotten that incident, and to this day I wonder if he survived.  As I was about to board the helicopter to leave, he watched me reproachfully.” 

We heard in today’s First Reading (Deuteronomy 8:2-16,) “A human being doesn’t live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Jesus quoted these words when He faced temptation in the desert.) 

We need bread—our most basic necessity.  But bread only nourishes our physical bodies.  But our spiritual side also cries out for nourishment—even as that starving child exhibited to Cardinal +Hume.  The Holy Mass was instituted to nourish us with God’s Word, to comfort, guide, instruct, inspire and challenge us.  The Eucharistic banquet provides food for our minds, hearts and spirits.  It is there we experience the abiding presence of Jesus Christ—not as a vague memory of a person Who lived long ago, but as a life-giving force—a presence that transforms us.  By eating the food of the Holy Eucharist, we are nourished, and are able to nourish others.

 One Loaf, One Body

 A freshly baked loaf of bread is a marvelous thing—a kind of miracle, actually.  It is a gift from God, but like His many gifts, it does not fall “ready-made” into our hands.  x   Many agents contribute to the making of a loaf of bread: the soil, the sun, the rain, the work and intelligence of people.  It comes to us not from one, but from many hands: the hands of the farmer; the hands of the miller; the hands of the baker; and the hands of the grocer.  Although people who bring forth the bread, it is God to Whom we give thanks.  Without God, none of this would be possible.

All this is beautifully expressed by the celebrant at every Holy Mass: “Blessed are You, Lord, God of all creation.  Through Your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made.  It will become for us the Bread of life—the Body of Christ.” (Jewish people would recognize this prayer having origins in those heard during the Seder Meal, celebrated by them before Passover, which Catholics hear as the Offertory Prayer.)

Many grains of wheat go into making a loaf of bread.  Once scattered over the fields, and separated from one another, they were eventually brought together and ground into flour, from which bread is made. 

We heard +Paul use a loaf of bread as a symbol of our unity with Christ in today’s Second Reading (1 Corinthians 10:16-17.)  Like the wheat, we once were separated from one another, but now we have been together to form the Body of Christ, in His Church.  This is an even greater miracle than a loaf of bread!  As one body, we become living witnesses of God’s desire to bring all people and nations together into one family.

During the week, we are scattered all about our individual worlds, but in Church, we are united.  There we lay down our differences, come “in from the cold” and experience the warmth of community.  Love is the atmosphere we breath.  We must try to rise above things that separate us, like shyness, coldness and indifference, and embrace the experience and expression of unity.  The ultimate expression of our unity is the Holy Eucharist.  We form a single body and share in one communal meal with one another.

When we leave Church, we must resist the temptation to forget all the ties that bind us together when we go our separate ways.  We must not ignore one another, and engage in activities and commentary that sometimes turns us against each other.  Individual differences of opinion about the ways of the world—politics and all that portends—vehemently expressed on social media platforms—serve to stress and even sever our bonds as Christian believers. 

In the final analysis, many seemingly contrary views are found to contain seeds of within them.  But it requires the virtue of charity to uncover them, sometimes.

As people of God, it behooves us always to remember the adage: “In matters that are essential, we must promote unity and acceptance; In the non-essentials, we must project courtesy and tolerance; and in all things, we must have charity,” when we express ourselves.  When we come to our final moments of life, those beliefs that have divided us from our fellows will become as so much smoke in the scheme of things.  Remembering the divisive qualities they possess, and controlling them while we are living will make our lives easier and more enjoyable. 

May God Richly Bless You!

I believe that by my own reason or strength I cannot believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him,

But the Holy Spirit has called me through the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts,

And sanctified and preserved me in the true faith.” Martin Luther

To view a live stream of today's Liturgy of the Word, click here: https://www.facebook.com/michael.schamp.9/videos/3352279048129912/?d=n


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...