DAILY MASS READINGS (August 19, 2018)

20TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (CYCLE B, Green)

 

Reading 1 (PROVERBS 9:1-6)

Wisdom has built her house,
she has set up her seven columns;
she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine,
yes, she has spread her table.
She has sent out her maidens; she calls
from the heights out over the city:
“Let whoever is simple turn in here;
To the one who lacks understanding, she says,
Come, eat of my food,
and drink of the wine I have mixed!
Forsake foolishness that you may live;
advance in the way of understanding.”

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 34:2-3, 4-5, 6-7)

R. (9a) Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
I will bless the LORD at all times;
his praise shall be ever in my mouth.
Let my soul glory in the LORD;
the lowly will hear me and be glad.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Glorify the LORD with me,
let us together extol his name.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.
Look to him that you may be radiant with joy,
and your faces may not blush with shame.
When the poor one called out, the LORD heard,
and from all his distress he saved him.
R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

Reading 2 (EPHESIANS 5:15-20)

Brothers and sisters:
Watch carefully how you live,
not as foolish persons but as wise,
making the most of the opportunity,
because the days are evil.
Therefore, do not continue in ignorance,
but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.
And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery,
but be filled with the Spirit,
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,
singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,
giving thanks always and for everything
in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Alleluia (JOHN 6:56)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (JOHN 6:51-58)

Jesus said to the crowds:
“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.”The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, 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.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

 

Reflection: For the past 3 Sundays, we have been subscribing and reflecting on the soap opera series of the Bread of Life Discourse based from the 6th Chapter of the Gospel of St. John. The crowds have seen the wonders of the Lord Jesus when he multiplied the five loaves and two fish that were shared by the boy, and so they want to seize him and make him king (Gospel last JULY 29). However Christ withdraws to the mountains to pray, then he reveals to his Apostles on the boat to Capernaum walking on water. Now the people have noticed that he is not there at the mountain, so they got into boats and sailed to Capernaum. When they have found Jesus, they approached him and asked another sign from him as an expression of their faith, so he declares himself to them as the Bread of Life (Gospel last AUGUST 5). Hearing his statements that he comes from God the Father who is in Heaven, they murmured among themselves, to which Christ replies that he is the Living Bread coming down from Heaven, and that anyone who eats of it will live forever (Gospel last AUGUST 12). Now the tension between the Jews and Jesus have grown wilder when he assured them that this Bread is his Flesh for the life of the world. In the Jewish practices, the blood of a person is considered sacred, so doing any cannibalistic ritual would break the Law of God and show disrespect to the human life given by this God. The problem is that the crowds have taken his words literally that he wants them to physically eat his Flesh and drink his Blood. What Jesus means is that their faith in him should remain forever. To believe in Jesus Christ is to obey the divine will of God the Father. Now the context of the passage points out to the Theological doctrine of the Eucharist. Other religions and sects would accuse us of our Holy Mass as a cannibalistic ritual, since our faith professes the bread and wine being the real Body and Blood of Christ. However we have to remember that with the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross for our salvation from sin, there is no need to offer anymore physical oblation and holocaust by killing animals. But because he wants this event to be remembered, he instituted at the Last Supper this Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist. The Book of Proverbs in the First Reading describes Wisdom like a woman who throws a bountiful feast and invites the people to partake in the banquet prepared for them. Christ is the Wisdom of the Father who has humbled himself into our human nature to be like us in all things except sin. So at the Last Supper, Christ designates in the institution narrative that the bread and wine are his Body and Blood, that they are to partake of it in remembrance of him. And this explains the Mystery of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Although it cannot be explained thoroughly, it should not be demonstrated rationally either. It is faith and understanding that helps us grasp the concept of Jesus being truly present at every celebration of the Mass. And the bread and wine are not just mere symbols like that belief of other denominations, but we Catholics profess that they are truly the Body and Blood of Christ. At Consecration, the accidents of the Bread and Wine such as the color, size, and shape do not change, but the substances themselves become the Body and Blood of Christ. This is commonly referred to as Transubstantiation. It is not an act of cannibalism, but rather of sacramental presence that the Lord wants to spiritually nourish us every time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist and receive him in Holy Communion. And St. Paul in the Second Reading reminds us that every time we pray and sing psalms and hymns at these gatherings, we should always live in wisdom, not foolishness, discerning in our lives the will of the Lord. God wants us to be Eucharistic in sharing our lives for others in reaching out to their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. He also wants us to live honorably and faithfully as his children by walking in the truth and leaving behind all deceit, malice, and other forms of evil. So let our lives as Christians be entered in the Lord Jesus, the Living Bread, who nourishes us by his Word and Body in the Holy Eucharist, and bear his love for others to see and glorify God the Father who is in Heaven.

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