Homilies by Father Jaimon Dominic » Notes » Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

  • Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2018

    Posted by Mary Wilson August 11, 2018 - 518 views - 0 comments - 0 likes
    A community of nuns in Paris usually has a priest come in every evening at 4:00 to
    celebrate the Eucharist with them. One day the priest fell suddenly ill and asked a
    visiting African priest to help him out.The African priest showed up at the convent
    at about 3:55 and rang the doorbell. Following the prevailing custom in Paris at the
    time, he was dressed in casual and not in clerical outfit. A nun quickly answered the
    door thinking that their priest had arrived. She was taken aback when she saw an
    African face. Without giving the visitor a chance to say why he came, she
    quickly dismissed him thinking that he had come to ask for help. “Sorry we cannot
    help you,” said the nun. “We are having Mass now. Come back some other time.”
    “Than kyou, Sister!” said the priest. And he turned back and left. A few
    minutes later, phones were ringing in the rectory. It was the nuns. They said they
    were still waiting for the priest. You can imagine their embarrassment when
    they learnt that he came and they sent him away.
    Why did these holy nuns miss the celebration of the Eucharist they were waiting for?
    No, it was not because they were bad people.It was simply because the priest that
    came to them did not look like the priest they were expecting to come. The reality
    before them differed from their expectations and they did not recognize the moment of
    their visitation. My dear brothers and sisters this is precisely the problem the
    Galileans in today’sgospel had with Jesus. God had many messengers. His greatest
    message came through a Galilean carpenter, and for that very reason the Jews
    disregarded it. A man would hardly refuse a check for $1,000 because it
    happened to been closed in an envelope which did not conform to the most
    aristocratic standards of note paper.
    We find the Jewish crowd arguing about what Jesus means by saying he is “the bread
    that came down from heaven.” They would have heard in this a clear claim to divine
    status. Their biblical scholars had thought hard about the miraculous provision of
    manna in Exodus. Rabbinic authorities of the age taught that the manna that sustained
    the Israelites inthe wilderness had been created by angels before the creation of
    Adam and Eve(Psalm 78:25). More manna was now reserved in heaven and would be
    returned to the earth with the coming of Messiah. So they protest. How can Jesus and
    the “bread from heaven” be the same? They know him and his parents well. This
    claimborders on blasphemy.
    Jesus knows his teaching on the bread of life is controversial. He knows he will be
    challenged at every turn. He is making the bold claim he is the Messiah. He is sent
    from God. He is the bread of life. He has seen the Father. Whoever eats the bread of
    his flesh will live forever. Live forever? Where have we heard that phrase before in
    the biblical narrative? The first time eternal life is promised for consuming some
    substance is in the book of Genesis. Our first parents were expelled from the Garden
    of Eden before they could eat of the fruit that would impart to them eternal life
    (Genesis 3:22-23). Now that food has returned with Jesus by saying he is the bread
    of life that came down from heaven, whoever eats this bread will live forever. But we
    know him. We know where he is from. We know his parents. How can he be the Messiah?
    But he fed the multitudes, the sick are healed, and the good news is proclaimed to
    the poor. He is the fulfillment of all the law and prophets and fullness of God’s
    To obtain the life of Jesus from the bread He gives,we must first believe in His
    word that He Himself is the bread. This is the belief of the Church which she has
    never changed; the first century Christians said this, the Middle Age church said
    this, the Vatican I church said this and post-Vatican II church also says the same.
    The Church can never explain how. Just like this story of a little boy who asked the
    electrician: “What exactly is electricity?” the electrician answered: “I really do
    not know, son. But I can make it give you light. Likewise, the Church cannot explain
    how Jesus is in the Eucharist, the process, but she can make it give us the life of
    So dear friends, how does God come down from heaven? How does God come into our
    lives? Today’s gospel shows us that God comes to us in the ordinary people we meet in
    our everyday lives. The question is not whether God comes to us or not but whether we
    are able to recognize God at work in our lives. Today let us take a second look at
    those persons we only know too well — or at least we think we do — those people we
    often take for granted. These men, women and children may indeed be the messengers
    that God in His providence has sent to us to educate and prepare us for eternal life.

    Image courtesy of ccSearch via Flickr David Eucaristía