Pastoral Message – August 8, 2021
One of the most important aspects of life is the food we eat. I can only imagine some of the different types of food many of you might be having today. Personally, I love fast food. In fact, In-N-Out is my favorite restaurant. Usually, when I go there I order a double-double meat sandwich, a big order of French fries, and a large milkshake. It tastes so good! I know that it is not the healthiest thing that I could eat, but I like it. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy it and pray as I eat, “Lord, have mercy on me!”
Then one day it just hit me. I said to myself: “I like In-N-Out burger so very much. I am happy and joyful when eating a double-double sandwich. So, do I have the same kind of joy when I receive Holy Communion?” I was frozen a bit when I asked myself this question because I didn’t know how I was supposed to answer it.
Over a few weeks, we have heard from St. John’s gospel which depicts Jesus as the Bread of Life. Jesus performed the miracle of multiplying the five loaves and two fish to feed the multitude. Then people continued to follow Jesus mainly because they wanted him to feed their bellies. It is a beautiful thing that people follow Jesus, but it is sad when they’re only looking to Jesus for sandwiches. The Gospel tells us that Jesus didn’t give them what they wanted, but he invited them and explained to them what kind of food really matters. People are looking for physical needs to be met. As they wait for this, Jesus enlightens, illuminates, and fulfills them with spiritual needs. As he said of himself: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
In the gospel today, we can see that John gives us the insight of the Eucharist that we celebrate every day (at least every Sunday), yet sometimes we take it for granted. John gives us the insight of what it means to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ. The insight is that Jesus Christ is the bread of life.
The word “Eucharist” in Greek means “to give thanks.” Every Eucharist is a thanksgiving dinner. Communion is the source of nourishment that helps us to have eternal life. Are we joyful in receiving communion? Do we thank God for receiving communion?
Sometimes I see someone take communion and bow to the cross, saying something which I can’t hear. I think it is a beautiful action to bow to the cross, but I don’t think that it is necessary at this point of the Eucharistic celebration. Why? Because you are holding Jesus, you are holding God in the palm of your hand. We are consuming the body and blood of Jesus by mouth. God stays in us. Why don’t we talk directly to him? God is so close to us. And sometimes we just think that God is so far away.
I believe it is a good opportunity for us to ask ourselves: Why do I receive communion every time I go to Mass? What are the benefits of receiving communion? Is receiving communion something that I really desire, or it is just something that I do because everyone else is doing it? How is my relationship with Jesus growing each day? Why do I go “looking for Jesus”? For what purpose do I seek him out? I believe that if we can answer some of these questions presented here, we will come to appreciate the value of Holy Communion.
After Holy Communion today, I invite all of us to close our eyes for a few moments during which we can
talk with God who is actually living inside of us. The period of time after receiving Holy Communion is a perfect time to thank God for the wonderful gift that He has given to us; The Body and Blood of Christ that nourishes and give us an eternal life.
Blessings & Peace,