August 01, 2021
On Thursday July 29 we celebrated the feast of St. Martha of Bethany – sister of Mary and Lazarus. Martha is remembered in the Gospel according to Luke as busy preparing food in the kitchen while Mary is seated among the disciples listening to Jesus. Martha and Mary represent two human needs – nourishment of body and soul. Last Sunday Jesus fed the hungry multitude with five barley loaves and two fish. Today, when the crowd seeks him out for more food, another free meal, Jesus encourages them “not to work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life…” They ask: “How can we work to gain this food from God.” Jesus answers: “This is the work of God, that you believe in the One he sent.” They recall how their ancestors ate manna in the desert. Jesus reminds them that it was not Moses who provided the manna, the bread from heaven, but God! They request: “Sir, give us this bread always.” Jesus says: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
Hunger is a primary human experience. So many people in the world are in a constant battle to meet their need for food to survive. There are people in our country who go to bed hungry. Once our fundamental need for food and shelter is met, we are free to begin to think beyond our craving for food and to aspire for food that nourishes our minds and souls. The expression “food for thought” is the yearning within us to learn and to know. Immigrant families set a priority on education. We are partnering with Our Lady of Hope Parish, Buffalo by providing school supplies for children from Sudan, Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Coupled with “food for thought” is “food for the soul”. It may well be the deepest hunger of all, that is, our search for meaning, for a sense of belonging and for God. We see this “searching” apparent in the Gospel according to John with the two disciples who break from the Baptist to see where Jesus lives; with Nicodemus, a religious leader, who comes to Jesus at night and sees the light; with the woman in Samaria who comes to the well and encounters Jesus the source of “living water”.
St. Paul writes to the Ephesians “to put away the old self of your former way of life…and be renewed in the spirit of your minds…” Paul reminds the Church at Ephesus that they can no longer live like the Gentiles do, but “how you learned Christ.” It is an odd expression: “how you learned Christ”. Paul is urging the community to live according to how they learned Christ. It is more than knowing things about Jesus. It is knowing Jesus as the One, who God, the Father, sent into the world. “Learning Christ” nourishes our souls and gives us a taste of eternal life.
We ask: “how can we come to know or learn Christ?” A special place of encounter is right here at Mass when we break open the Bread of the Word and the Sacrament of Eucharist. We learn Christ by receiving him and becoming friends. When we receive the Bread of Life, we learn that it is not something we can hold on to but must share.
Yesterday I was picking up an order from a restaurant. Standing at the bar waiting for my food, I heard a man say: “I hate the world as it is.” His words sounded confessional. He was not spewing hatred with his buddies at the bar. He made an honest statement of his perception of the world “as it is.” There are certainly verses in the Bible to support this view -- G... READ MORE
Pudgy was the name of our dog. As he grew older and my three sisters and I became nosier, he would spend more time across the street with an elderly couple. They were made for each other. But whenever there was a pending storm, even when the sun was shining, Pudgy would come home and take shelter behind our bathtub. It was his safe harbor! People and dogs can be frig... READ MORE
There is a disappointment not having Bishop Fisher or his Vicar General, Fr. Peter Karalus, to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation. I am your pastor and regional vicar. Using a baseball image, I am coming off the bench to pitch hit. Accepting this task, I pray to the Holy Spirit for the gifts of calm, appreciation, and joy to be part of such a wonderful event. This is the... READ MORE
Like a rare triple play in baseball, we return to Ordinary Liturgical Time with three consecutive Sunday Solemnities: Pentecost (concluding the Easter Season), Most Blessed Trinity and Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ. We know the feast is important when we start using the word: “Most.” These three Solemnities touch on essential mysteries of our Catholic faith: Holy ... READ MORE
How often do we say the name “God”? We use the name of God in texting OMG - Oh My God, in our prayers, at Mass and sometimes in swearing. Soldiers may utter the name of God on the battlefield. Jewish people long ago had a great reverence for God’s name. They believed “the name of God” had power. In the Bible, “Elohim”, a name for God, occurs frequently throug... READ MORE