August 12th Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Medicine or cure?
I don’t know how it came about that religion or church is often seen as telling people what NOT to do or be. If you take the time or trouble to read the scriptures, it couldn’t be more positive. In the First Reading, Elijah has had enough and wants his life to end. Both Paul in the 2nd Reading and Jesus in the Gospel have people murmuring. Jesus turns it around and wants to give people encouragement and to come in faith. God is the initiator and the one who inspires us. He talks of the mystery of faith, “no one can come to me unless he is drawn by the Father who sent me.” It is perhaps our greatest loss in the 21st Century in Ireland – the loss of faith. In a world of infinite variety and choice and all sorts of ways of connecting- “going to Mass” doesn’t make the cut for quite a few people. If there is no faith- then all Mass serves is some socio-cultural role.
Sometimes the noise of this world can be overwhelming and we get caught up in the murmuring and in our own faults and that of others. The call is to be a person not of complaint but a person who listens. In a culture that is more and more individualistic- the Eucharist constitutes a type of “antidote”
Antidote it is- but not magic, for whether you are believer or not, we all live with the premise that nothing lasts forever… or does it. We have all had perfect days and experiences, which we know wont last forever. Many people fear that with death all is ended and we end up in an abyss of nothing. But Jesus came to dissolve that fear, to offer us amazing promise… “I am the bread of life.” In past days, the Eucharist is defined as a “medicine” and as a “cure”. A medicine for immortality and a cure for death. A medicine that we can take anytime and the more we take this medicine, the less we will doubt or fear and the more we will grasp and live each day fully. In many respects the Eucharist is like a medicine that helps people regain an attachment to the truth and the common good. This is no hard cake or jug of water (1st Reading) on offer here- it is the very bread of life.
the Eucharist was like the “pulsing heart” that gives life and meaning to everything the Church does. After all, it isn’t a hard cake or a jug of water.(first reading) that is on offer but the bread and wine.