for Sunday, June 18, 2017
"My Lord and my God" exclaimed the apostle Thomas when he finally touched Jesus Himself. Thomas found it really difficult to believe in the Resurrection. For many today, to believe that Jesus is God is difficult. To believe that we eat His flesh and drink His blood is practically impossible. Yet, God is with us! God is present in our lives daily. God seeks us each, personally and individually, so that we can share His life.
Just as the early followers of Jesus found it difficult to accept these teachings, so also today we find it difficult to accept. When we read of the early followers of Jesus, we begin to see that belief does transform their lives completely. They can no longer contain themselves and speak of the "wonderful works of God" to all who will listen to them.
The first reading today is from the Book of Deuteronomy and speaks of the testing of the people who fled Egypt with Moses and who form the Chosen People. The reading is clear: God lead them into the desert to test them by affliction and to find out whether or not it was their intention to keep the commandments of God.
You and I are taken into the desert in our own time and we are tested. Faith is a serious commitment. Faith in this God of our ancestors, the God of Moses, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of the early apostles and followers of Jesus—this is a strong faith! The challenge to each of us today is the same: are you willing to obey this God and to do His will.
This faith is expressed in the First Letter to the Corinthians, from which is taken our second reading today: we are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. We are one in Christ Jesus! This faith should unite us and make possible our love for every other person in the world. It is all of us who form one body.
The Gospel from John today speaks clearly also: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." Even the Jewish contemporaries of Jesus found this kind of speaking impossible to accept.
We Christians can be honest today: we are invited to believe that Jesus is God. We are invited to believe that God is Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are invited to believe that Jesus has given Himself to us as flesh and blood to eat and drink. We are invited to believe that this flesh and blood are given to us in the Holy Mass. We are invited to believe that God Himself will transform us if we believe in Him and try to do His will.
My sisters and brothers, we have been invited. May we partake of the banquet!
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Deuteronomy 8.2-3, 14-16
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 10.16-17
Gospel: John 6.51-59
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: