“Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” These words from Jesus in today’s Gospel are the beginning of his teaching on the Bread of Life, which culminates in today’s Gospel with Jesus declaring that He himself is the Bread of Life. I can only imagine that this is not what the crowds who came to see Jesus were expecting to hear!
Jesus, especially in John’s Gospel, is constantly challenging the people he meets to go deeper: to move past surface level understanding, and embrace the deeper realities of God’s presence among them, which he is revealing by his very presence. Often, this pressure to “go deeper” is met with resistance. Why? Because it’s all to easy to get comfortable, and not allow ourselves to be challenged to grow, or learn to see the world in a new way.
In these weeks in which we read the Bread of Life Discourse, we too are challenged to “go deeper”- to grow in our knowledge and understanding of the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the Bread of Life that Jesus speaks of in the Gospel. The Eucharist is no mere symbol- even though the outward appearance of the bread and wine do not change, our Faith tells us that the very substance of these simple gifts becomes the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we truly believe in this mystery? Can we see Jesus’ words as an invitation to enter deeper into the mystery of the Eucharist, and gain a deeper appreciation for the gift that Christ has given us? If we can answer yes to these questions, then it is my hope that our Faith can be strengthened by the contemplation of the Eucharist.
Today, August 1, is the Feast day of St. Alphonsus Liguori. Saint Alphonsus Church, a member of our Family of Parishes, is under the patronage of this 18th century Bishop and Doctor of the Church, who also founded the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, who are also known as the Redemptorists. On their Parish Feast Day, we invoke God’s blessings on the people of St. Alphonsus Church, and pray that through the intercession of St. Alphonsus Liguori, they might be strengthened in their faith, and in their desire to carry out God’s will. We also look forward to the day when we can have a proper celebration of the Parish Feast Day, and truly gather once again as a Parish Community. We also look forward to the day when we can have a family-wide gathering, and celebrate the many different communities that make up the Windsor Heritage Catholic Family of Parishes.
Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB