In the readings this weekend, we arrive at a very pivotal moment in the great bread of life discourse. Until now, Jesus has only required belief in him as the one sent by the father, a belief difficult enough in itself. He has done many things to merit our belief, like feeding the 5,000 and walking on water. But in the Scripture for Aug. 16, he challenges us to put our belief into action in a very unpalatable way: to eat his body and drink his blood.
Living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, it’s easy to place our confidence in a well-stocked pantry, or ultimately, a healthy bank account. It is easy to place our confidence in the things we have, rather than in God, who has given them to us.
The Sea of Galilee is below sea level, within a bowl of hills, and very subject to unpredictable storms. After a hard day’s preaching, Jesus, who governs the universe, is stretched out, asleep in a boat during a violent storm. The apostles’ maritime skills were not enough to endure the waves, so as a last resort, they turn to Jesus to calm the sea.
“Sing, my tongue, the Savior’s glory, of His Flesh, the mystery sing; of the Blood, all price exceeding, shed by our Immortal King, destined, for the world’s redemption, from a noble Womb to spring” (Hymn Pange Lingua, St. Thomas Aquinas).
About 15 years ago, my dad traveled to Brazil on business and, while there, he purchased a beautiful gold and aquamarine necklace for my mother. It was stunning. We all admired it when she opened the gift on Christmas morning, after which my sister and I began the usual good-natured jokes about which one of us would inherit the piece.
This weekend’s Gospel proclaims: “Love one another as I love you,” and “As the Father loves me, so I also love you.”
I’ve heard people voice some common misconceptions about small-business owners: They don’t have to work hard because they have employees to do the work for them, they can take time off whenever they want, they can work fewer hours than their hirelings, and they can command a larger salary with impunity.
This week’s Gospel is the one in which the apostle Thomas famously doubts Jesus’ resurrection even though the latter suddenly appeared before him within a locked room. Thomas can’t quite believe his eyes. He needs to touch the wounds that would identify his master.
The Roman soldiers, who among their other acts of violence against Jesus placed a crown of thorns on his head, were correct about one thing: He is a king. This painful irony is not lost on us, especially when we pray the third sorrowful mystery of the rosary.