As this bulletin serves for five weeks, here are my brief reflections for each Sunday.
18th Sunday – Aug. 1
Jesus is the Bread of Life, given to us as food. Though we hunger for it, we do not always accept it. Sometimes we take in so much contrary stuff that we have no room for the Bread of Eternal Life.
And then we wonder why our lives are so contradictory and filled with aggravation. Again and again we have to be reminded, we have to hear the Word, we have to pay attention to the Lord, so that we will accept this marvellous gift, not just in theory, but in practice. Then we will be rooted in the love of God, the source of all life, and we will indeed become what we eat.
19th Sunday – Aug. 8
When Jesus described himself as the Bread of God sent down from heaven, the Eucharistic language of today’s Gospel was too much for many people. This kind of intimacy with God was a new idea.
Jesus reveals many important things to us about God. First, as the Jews already knew, God is not some impersonal force of nature, nor is he the exaggerated man of Greek myth. Although not simply a larger human, God is interested in having a relationship, a dialogue, a conversation with people. Being created in his image, we have to respond – toward him or against him. God seeks us out, he calls us to holiness, it is his desire that all should have eternal life.
Assumption – Aug. 15
Mary is the model for the Church, the model of true discipleship and complete openness to God. Celebrating her glorification, we recall that we also are invited by Christ to glory.
Like other statements about Mary, the declaration of her assumption into heaven ‘body and soul’ is a reflection on the person of Jesus Christ and her unique relationship with him. It also speaks directly about our own relation to the Lord, both as individuals and as the Church, the Body of Christ. Despite the broken condition of Creation, despite the evil that people do, the body is good and is meant to be made holy.
First, it is a gift of God; second, the body is the place where his own live out their decision to follow Christ. We do not become holy by attempting to ignore or deny physical reality. Rather, a sign of holiness is the extent to which our whole being – physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual – expresses harmony with Christ. For us, faith in Christ overcomes the decay of the body; for Mary, her harmony with God was such that sin could not inflict decay upon her.
The Assumption reminds us that our life journey is one of transformation. By being open to God as Mary was, we leave behind death and emptiness and are prepared for the fullness of life in eternal glory.
21st Sunday – Aug. 22
Following Christ is not always simple or routine. Sometimes we are shocked when we find out what it is we must change, or how much energy and perseverance are required.
Reading the Bible brings us wisdom and consolation. It also can confront us, challenging our ways, questioning our opinions. Usually when we read or see or hear something, we reject those things we do not like. With Scripture, it is different. It is not presented for our approval or judgement. Rather, Scripture judges us.
22nd Sunday – Aug 29
In keeping the Commandments, we are acting upon the Word we have heard and share in God’s life of love.
A clear Christian vision is needed if we are to live in unity with Christ, energized by the Spirit and giving witness to his light and love. Otherwise, disorder rules our hearts, and our actions bear no good fruit. To have and keep this clear vision of the Truth, we must hear the Word of God and seek to understand it. Sometimes it will confront us and call us to repent. Other times it will console us with a deeper understanding of God’s powerful and healing love for us. Hearing the Word prayerfully, we are better able to decide if our plans and actions have anything to do with giving witness to the love of Christ.