August 16, 2015 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time Fr. Jim Miller

Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 16, 2015

Reading 1 Prv 9:1-6

Responsorial Psalm Ps 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Reading 2 Eph 5:15-20

Alleluia Jn 6:56

R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Jn 6:51-58

Homily August 15-16, 2015

    When you hear somebody say, “Watch your step” you immediately look down to see what you might be stepping into or on. It is a warning. The wisdom in Proverbs, the first reading, tells us to “Forsake foolishness that you may live”.   Paul writes, “Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise”.  The word “live” might be better translated as “walk”.  Watch carefully how you walk, not as foolish persons but as wise.  By using this language, Paul accomplishes two purposes:  He reminds the community that their Christian vocation is a way of walking through every moment of their life, and he’s calling them to pay attention to the grace and temptations offered by their surroundings.

    Paul goes on to say “try to understand what is the will of the Lord”.  In this week’s The Witness there is an article about Kristin Zogg, from Cedar Rapids and Xavier High School, who was discerning her vocation while in high school.  One summer her family attended a Catholic family conference together in Wichita, Kansas.  Eucharistic adoration was offered at the conference, which was the first time Kristin had ever encountered it. The experience was utterly life-changing for her.   She said, “That is when I fell in love with Jesus and knew I wanted to give my life to God, but I didn’t know what that would look like or how to go about it.”  After graduation from high school she attended the University of Notre Dame.  She said “At adoration, I asked God to show me what he wanted me to do.  It was after that I met the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist on campus at a pro-life conference. Later that year, the campus minister handed out fliers about a retreat the sisters were hosting. I went to the retreat and knew that this was where God was calling me to serve.”   Kristin is now known as Sister Louis Marie.   She made her final vows this summer. Her religious order’s primary work is in Catholic education and the formation of young people. Sister Louis Marie Zogg states, “Living out my vocation will be an adventure.  Every year could be a different assignment. No matter where I am sent, God will use me to bring others to him.”

    St. Paul continues speaking to the community telling them not to get drunk on wine but be filled with the Spirit. If he was writing to us today he would have added beer, whiskey, vodka, rum or whatever is your drink of choice. Whether we are drinking alcohol or taking a medication or using another drug we are responsible for what we do when we are under the influence.   Strive to do things in moderation. You never know when there will be an emergency in your life to help someone—so be always ready and able to respond at a moment’s notice.

    In the gospel Jesus challenges the people with the words “I am the living bread that came down from heaven:  whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”   This is incomprehensible to the Jews. They say how can this be? This is impossible!  Eat his body!! Yuk!  For us it might be like being told to eat something we can’t imagine eating. But Jesus does not back down but becomes more insistent.   Jesus continues “I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”  Now the word for eat is better translated as gnaw, like chew on a bone. Jesus is challenging the people to receive the bread and wine as his body and blood.

    Eating is necessary for life. Do we eat to live, or live to eat?  When we think of the Eucharist we do both.  Eating and drinking the risen Christ’s Body and Blood gives us a share now in divine Life:  we eat to live. Further, we must daily deepen our hunger for this divine Food that leads to eternal Life:  therefore, in a real sense, we live to eat.