Living Bread – August 2018

I am the living bread that came down from heaven.

Jn 6:51

My Sisters and Brothers in Christ:

God asks us to reflect through the Scriptures of August 19 about how we are living.  Where is our focus?  Are we interested in God?  How do we express our interest?  Where do we seek God? Do we share our knowledge of God?  Are we helping each other to get to heaven?

God guides us through the answers as St. Paul speaks to the Ephesians.  Watch carefully how you live.  Seek wisdom and be filled with the Spirit.  Forsake foolishness and advance in the way of understanding.

The living bread, the Eucharist, is the center of our experience of God.  By eating this bread, an internal transformation begins within each one of us.  Our participation in the Eucharist awakens our soul to the hunger we have tamped; the hunger, longing to know God Who made us.

Jesus exhorts us to pray, understanding what eating this ‘living bread’ truly means.  When we do, then we will see how Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  Then we will taste true wisdom:  eternity.  Through the Eucharist we come to realize that Jesus accompanies and feeds us as He is with us on our journey.  Jesus tells us not to be afraid for through, with and in Him, the Eucharist, our fear of the unknown is gone.  Jesus steadies us, strengthens and assures us as He did with St. Peter when he tried to follow Jesus walking on water.

Pope Francis said, “Jesus underlines that He has not come into this world to give something, but to give Himself, His life, as nourishment for those who have faith in Him. This our communion with the Lord obliges us, His disciples, to imitate Him, making our existence, through our behavior, bread broken for others, as the Teacher has broken the bread that is truly is His flesh. Instead, this means for us generous conduct towards our neighbor thereby demonstrating the attitude of giving life for others.”

When we are in relationship with our triune God, we don’t do good for the sake of good.  From the Eucharist, from God, we wrap each other in His perfect love to taste and see the goodness of the Lord; to assure the Covenant’s promise, that the Kingdom of God thrives among us.  All that we are can only be given for God.

In another few weeks, I will ordain Deacon Edwin Cardona to the vocation of the priesthood.  Edwin’s example of sacrifice for our sake emulates the living bread.  Sister of St. Joseph, Kathleen Power, left God’s mark on the young people of the Diocese of Orlando while she served as assistant director of the Office of Vocations.  But her work for the Lord is not over because she is leaving the Diocese.  Her work continues every day and now she will offer retreats for people of all ages while residing at her religious order’s motherhouse in St. Augustine.  Thomas, a former student of Bishop Moore Catholic High School, responded to God’s call for mercy when he witnessed an accident and rescued an injured woman.  Thomas didn’t do this because it was the right thing to do.  He helped the woman because of his partaking in the Eucharist calling him to be Christ-like.

Pope Francis elaborates, “Thanks to Jesus and to his Spirit, even our life becomes “bread broken” for our brothers. And living like this we discover true joy! The joy of making of oneself a gift, of reciprocating the great gift that we have first received, without merit of our own. This is beautiful: our life is made a gift! This is to imitate Jesus. I wish to remind you of these two things. First: the measure of God’s love is love without measure. Is this clear? And our life, with the love of Jesus, received in the Eucharist, is made a gift. As was the life of Jesus. Don’t forget these two things: the measure of the love of God is love without measure. And following Jesus, we, with the Eucharist, make of our life a gift.”

God asks us, “How are you doing?”  May our response be one of His perfect love.

August 17, 2018