Emmitsburg Council of Churches

About Holy Communion: Are you Ho hum or divinely desirous?

Father John J. Lombardi

We continue our Gospel readings from the "Eucharistic Chapter"≠St. John chapter six. Iím reminded of Scott Hahn, a kinda famous Catholic convert who once despised the Catholic Church and noted that Jesus said "You must be born again" (Jn. 3:3) once and yet said four times for us to eat His flesh and drink His Blood. Hahn noted many born-againers (like himself in the past) donít highlight this and yet focus so much on being born again (which we all must be). Point: many Christians neglect the Bibleís deep teachings (in this case on the Eucharist) and form their own agenda.

In this Sundayís reading Jesus says "You labor for food that perishes". Letís be honest: sometimes we want worldly food more than spiritual food. We sometimes search for and embrace bad food- toxic food (sinful); food that doesnít last (fast food) and trendy food of our times ("lean cuisine"). In the Eucharist and Mass we receive Jesus Christ the Food of Eternal Life≠and yet so many neglect or reject Him in this form (over half of Catholics in the USA do not regularly attend Sunday Mass) . The Catechism of the Catholic Church recommends to us to attend Mass frequently, even daily if possible. Also, think on this: donít neglect the delights of Catholicism≠receiving Jesus in Holy Communion≠ by casually and mechanically going to church or Mass or to Jesus in Eucharist and thereby making Catholicism a danger. This is what Jesus constantly railed against≠sterile and rigorous ritualism, so letís honor and love Christ-Our Heavenly Bread like saints and divinely desire and receive Him≠and allow the effects of the Eucharist spread to others!

Jesus presents Himself in this Gospel as the Wisdom of God--Whom came down from Heaven and feeds His people. This imagery would attract Jews as they were steeped in Divine Wisdom and knowledge. In todayís world we need wisdom, as in Divine doctrine--God as Three-in-One; teachings about Heaven and Hell, the basics. Last week a pilgrim who was reading a popular novel asked me about a paragraph in it, which asserted that Jesus had originally only eleven apostles and there were eleven Commandments (Catholics supposedly combined two commandments). I was astonished : that this mix of fact and fiction is being spread and that we Catholics-Christians need to be aware of this sneaky-surreal tactic around us and teach true teaching (Jesus founded a Church upon Twelve Apostles) and acknowledged the Ten Commandments. We also need basic teaching on other aspects of Faith--lifestyle (living simply- frugally in a consumerist world); and morality (donít do bad things to supposedly bring about a good thing≠like I recently heard from a guy who was choosing abortion to supposedly not add to all the present poor babies and population); and spirituality--you have a soul≠a kinda supernatural microchip≠and need to regularly connect to itís God-Source The Trinity.

A disciple says in response to Christ: "Give us this Food always." Do you have≠and cultivate≠a desire for Jesusí Wisdom and Jesus-as-Eucharist ? Are you grateful or grumbly in life? The Israelites grumbled against God (in the First Reading/Exodus 16:2-15), how do you overcome this fault by counting blessings and not becoming envious? As we encounter Jesus-The Eucharist in Worship, ask: how do you participate in The Liturgy? Do you sing, pray deeply, try to prepare for Mass ahead by reviewing the readings? A sign of a healthy church is warmth. So, do you welcome others and help them from being a stranger to guest to fellow parishioner? On the Mass:

To be continuedÖ

Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi