FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR THE 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B (2)

FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR THE 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR B

THEME: Decide Today!

BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

 

HOMILY: John 6:60-69

The mission of Jesus is to bring salvation and fullness of life to mankind: “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). To do this, He did not only give food, but He Himself became food. This is what we have seen in the past five Sundays when we reflected on the Bread of Life Discourse of Jesus found in the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel.

The whole chapter starts with the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves. Afterwards, He began teaching them: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Believe in me, and you will never hunger and thirst anymore.” But He went on further and talked more directly: “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” And finally, He said: “My flesh is true food. Eat it. My blood is true drink. Drink it. Then you will remain in me and I in you. You will have eternal life.”

Jesus did not just give us material food; He gave us bread from heaven. He did not just give us bread; He has become bread for us so that we can be one with Him and have life in its fullness. Peter and the rest of the apostles realized this: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life” (Jn. 6:68). Peter must have in mind the words of Scriptures: “It is not by bread alone that people live, but by all that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord” (Deut 8:3). Though the disciples did not fully comprehend the words of Jesus like the rest of His listeners, they were, however, convinced that Jesus is saying the truth. After all, the truth remains the truth, whether we understand it or not. It is not a matter of understanding anymore, but of faith: “We have come to believe that you are the Holy One of God.”

In the first reading, Joshua told the people: “Choose today whom you will serve.” (Joshua 24:15). So, this Sunday, we are challenged to make a decision. There are two choices presented to us. The first is that of the unbelieving crowd, including many of His disciples. They decided to turn away from Jesus and go back to their old ways. The reason is simply because they could not understand the words of Jesus: “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” So, they left Jesus and began to shop around for somebody else whose teaching they will find more acceptable and understandable.
The second choice is that of Peter and the apostles. For them, there is only one choice: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” In the Eucharist, we receive the Word made flesh; we eat His Body and drink His Blood. And we are completely certain of His promise: He will grant us eternal life. St. Teresa of Kolkata said: “Holy Communion is the intimate union of Jesus and our soul and body. If we want to have life and have it more abundantly, we must live on the flesh of our Lord.”

The choice is ours to make. We can turn away from Jesus like the unbelieving disciples, or we can stick with Jesus all the way like the apostles. And should we decide to take the second choice, let us make sure that we persevere in our commitment and devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist. First, we are encouraged to receive Holy Communion, not only on Sundays, but also on ordinary days. St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina urged us, “Never neglect to satiate yourself with the food of the angels.”
And second, let us never pass every opportunity to spend some time of adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. St. John Vianney’s words should encourage us to do this more often: “Ah! How sweet and full of comfort are the moments spent before the Blessed Sacrament! Are you in any trouble? Come and throw yourself at His feet… Do people speak badly of you? Come to Him and you will find a good friend who will never fail you.”

As we journey in this life towards our Eternal Home, let us bring Jesus with us as our Food, our Viaticum. As St. Peter Julian Eymard said, “Jesus Christ is in heaven for the elect; He is in the Most Blessed Sacrament for journeying man.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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