Homily (Reflection) for the Twentieth Sunday of the Year (B) (19th August, 2018) on the GospelProv 9:1-6;
Ps 33:2-3.10-15 (R. V. 9);
Jn 6: 51-58.
“There was a Christian lady who lived next door to an atheist. Everyday, when the lady prayed, the atheist guy could hear her. He thought to himself, ‘She sure is crazy, praying all the time like that. Doesn’t she know there isn’t a God?’ Many times while she was praying, he would go to her house and harass her, saying ‘Lady, why do you pray all the time? Don’t you know there is no God?’ But she kept on praying.
“One day, she ran out of groceries. As usual, she was praying to the Lord, explaining her situation and thanking Him for what He was going to do. As usual, the atheist heard her praying and thought to himself. ‘Hmph. I will fix her.’ He went to the grocery store, bought a whole bunch of groceries, took them to her house, dropped them off on the front porch, rang the doorbell, and then hid in the bushes to see what she would do. When she opened the door and saw the groceries, she began to praise the Lord with all her heart, jumping, singing and shouting.
“The atheist then jumped out of the bushes and told her, ‘You crazy old woman! God didn’t buy you those groceries, I bought them for you!’
Well, she broke out and started running down the street, shouting and praising the Lord even more. When he finally caught up with her, he asked what her problem was. She said, ‘I knew the Lord would provide me with some groceries, but I didn’t know he was going to make the devil pay for them!’” (Thomas, T. (2010). Spice up your homilies. Mumbai: St Pauls, pp. 112-113).
Topic: Benefits of His Body and Blood.
We read from the gospel these unequivocal words of Jesus Christ to all of us:
Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them (Jn 6:53-56).
Although many still dispute today like the Jews, this passage enumerates some of the benefits of the Body and Blood of Christ. Among these are the facts that they give eternal life, and make us to abide in Christ.
We know that for a living being to survive, there is need for the required food and drink. And every living thing exists for a purpose. Human beings exist ultimately for the life after death. We read from the gospel, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). And those who abide in Jesus and Jesus in them are those who eat and drink Christ’s Body and Blood; “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them.” Refusing Christ’s offer leads to death.
It is important also to remind ourselves that although Christ’s Body and Blood are for eternal life, one must be very careful lest they lead one to the eternal death. Hence Saint Paul warns,
Whoever ... eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgement against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died (1Cor 11:27-30).
We also read,
I know your works; you have a name of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; obey it, and repent. If you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you (Rev. 3:1-3).
This message to the church in Sardis is very important to whoever claims to be a child of God yet fails to receive Christ’s Body and Blood. It is still early enough for anyone who wishes to make a useful U-turn. If you wish to have life, turn from human teachings to God’s and eternal life will be yours. And do not forget that those who will be happy on the last day are those who keep God’s words and not men’s cf. Prov 8:32. The woman we saw in our introduction said: ‘I knew the Lord would provide me with some groceries, but I didn’t know he was going to make the devil pay for them!’ Do not reason just as a man but like one who believes in God.
Bible Reading: Ps 73:21-26; Rom 8:1-17; 1Cor 6:12-20; 1Cor 11:27-34.
Thought for today: As a child of God, do you receive Christ’s Body and Blood, and how worthily if you do?
Let us pray: Jesus, help us to always receive you here on earth worthily and may we after this life be “invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9) – Amen.
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