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Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Dear Parishioners Listening is not as easy of a feat as we think it might be, yet it is essential.  Only a person that knows how to listen can have a spiritual life.  It is by listening that we take things in and we allow things to change us.  It is by listening that we find the motivation to move forward.  Also, it is by listening that we welcome people into our hearts. Perhaps our greatest temptation is to not listen. We don’t want to listen, or we hear without hearing. The people in the Gospel today react to Jesus saying “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother?  Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” They are not able to receive the message of Christ. Perhaps they are reacting with wounded pride, saying to themselves, how can He be better than us.  Often, we care more about controlling our circumstances and measuring things according to what we already know than we care about what is Good, Beautiful and True.  We care more about how we feel then we do about what is true. Perhaps they have had very busy and stressful lives, or at least that is the excuse we give them. Maybe they have been running around from thing to thing and they no longer take a step back to think about where they are and where they are going.  Minds that are full of too many things are usually too full to listen. Perhaps they are addicted to the world and all the pleasure that it gives.  If they are escaping into any kind of addictive behavior that too would stop them from listening.  They are too hungry for their next fix to be able to truly listen to anything else.  When someone speaks to them they can no longer hear what that person has to say. In fact, a person must let go of all of this in order to truly listen to Jesus Christ or even have a spiritual life at all. We must be empty in order to be filled. It is a heart that trusts in God and leaves everything in His hands, that does not hold onto thing that is truly able to let go and let God. Let us once again learn the art of listening. Fr Michael Therese

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Dear parishioners, Today’s Gospel takes place after the miracle of the loaves and the fish, and Jesus tells the people “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you” (Jn 6:26-27). He thereby instructs them to look for the Spiritual Food that will give them Eternal Life. So, they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” (Jn 6:34-35). Grumbling: It was really difficult for people to move from the sign (of bread) to the mystery indicated by that sign (the person of Jesus Christ).  This is not very different from what we find in the first reading, when the Israelites grumbled in the desert against Moses and Aaron. This passage is also hard for us too. “At times our grumblings and murmurings about the Eucharist and the Church often rise to fever pitch, not much different than the grumbling and murmuring of Israel in the desert. Excessive tensions arising from Church politics, gender issues, liturgical practices, language – all of these influence today’s Eucharist – and can lead us to a feeling of God’s absence.… We are often stuck in endless arguments between devotion and liturgy, or in a constant dispute between charity and  justice: when devotion is treated as the enemy of liturgy and charity as the betrayer of justice, or when liturgy is reduced to private devotion and justice not recognised as constitutive to the Gospel.” (Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB) Source and Summit: The Second Vatican council was very clear when it stated that the Eucharist is the Source and  Summit of the Church (LG 11). If it is truly the Source and Summit of the Church, there is no limit to our love of Eucharist. The more we love the Eucharist, the more we will love the poor, justice, mercy, devotion, piety and everything else that goes with being part of the Body of Christ. The Church must never put a barrier between Communion and Sacrifice, between Mercy and Justice, between Devotion and Liturgy. Grumbling divides the Church. Instead of saying “both … and …” we say “only my way, only my vision of the liturgy, only my vision of the Church”. Grumbling only leads to division, loss of trust and Faith. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life, let us come to Him, let us trust in Him, let us find our Unity in Him. He is the Source and Summit of the Church and He gives Himself to us in the Mass, He gives Himself to us in the Eucharist, in the Word, in our Brothers. Let not these things divide us   Fr Michael Thérèse.