Once again this Sunday, as we listen to chapter six of the Gospel of Saint John and the Lord’s teaching on the Holy Eucharist, Jesus declares that he is the Bread of Life.
Additionally, in this Gospel passage, the Lord makes two other important points for our consideration. Firstly, Jesus does not speak alone in revealing that he is the Bread of Life. This revelation belongs to his Father. God the Father has sent his Divine Son into the world, to give his life for us, to give us his holy Body and Blood in the Eucharist, so to lead us back to the him. Secondly, Jesus makes the inexplicable connection between the Eucharist and Eternal Life. When the priest raises the host at Mass and invites us to Holy Communion, Behold the Lamb of God, it is the Lord himself inviting us to the heavenly banquet. Our Sunday reception of Holy Communion in some real way is both an anticipation and a participation in this heavenly banquet with the Lord. This is because in every Mass, when we receive Holy Communion, we receive the glorified Lord truly present in the bread and wine that is now his real Body and Blood. Earth meets Heaven and Heaven meets earth in Holy Communion. Holy Communion becomes at once the pledge of Eternal Life and every grace and strength we need on our Christian journey to Eternal Life.
The teaching in today’s Gospel encourages renewed reflection on the great gift of the Bread of Life. It is the link through Jesus to the Father of us all and our heavenly sustenance as we live the Gospel in the here and now. I encourage you to consider what are you own thoughts and prayers in the moments before and after receiving Holy Communion. In your mind and heart do you make connections beyond your immediate reception of the Lord? Do you think of our heavenly Father and your relationship to him—through Jesus—as his son or daughter? Do you think of heaven and where you are on this journey and how Holy Communion is your help along the way? Singing the Communion Chant during Communion typically gives us the words to help us with these thoughts and prayers.
This Wednesday, August 15, 2018, is the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a holy day of obligation. Our Lady’s Assumption into heaven is a sign of our hope and a comfort that we too have the promise of Heaven by her Son. The Masses for the holy day are listed elsewhere in this Parish Bulletin. The obligation of
a holy day is serious and one that we may need to recall for others at home and where we work. Our participation in Mass on the holy day is a great witness to our faith in the midst of summer week. Mary, assumed into Heaven, pray for us!
The second collection at Mass next Sunday will be directed to the National Collection for the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Thank you so very much for all of your goodness and generosity to the Cathedral Parish in so many ways.
God bless you,
Father Dennis Gill
Previous Week, August 5, 2018
This Sunday’s Gospel follows upon last Sunday’s with the multiplication of the loaves and fish. As I mentioned last week, in this sixth chapter of the Gospel of John the Lord is teaching about the great gift of the Holy Eucharist. Today, we hear Jesus declare, “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” The multiplication miracle foreshadows the great providence of God that he alone feeds us with divine food, the Bread of Life, the Holy Body and Blood of his Son. Like anything, even the great gift of the Eucharist can become too familiar and our participation can become rather routine. This summer’s review of John’s Gospel on the Holy Eucharist suggests that we do more than listen again to what we believe.
We need to reflect anew on what we believe. We truly do believe that Holy Communion is the Bread from heaven! During the great Eucharistic Prayer, the bread and wine with the power of the Holy Spirit and the words of Christ spoken by the priest—become the actual Sacrifice of the Cross, and their substance is no longer bread and wine but,indeed, the real Body and Blood of the Lord. If this is true and it is then our reflection leads to greater wonder, real preparation to receive, and a sincere thanksgiving for a gift so great. Perhaps this Sunday is the occasion to review our Eucharistic habits. How fully do we participate in the Mass? How aware are we of what Holy Communion is? Am I filled with reverence and awe for the Eucharist? Do I see a connection between my reception of Communion and the way I live my Christian
life? As Christians, our real hunger, our real thirst, must be for the Body and Blood of the Lord.
August will quickly pass into September and once again our school age parishioners will be in their classrooms. A very important part of the education of these children is their formation in the Catholic Faith. The parish shares in this responsibility with our families with programs for the celebration of the Sacraments. Parents and guardians, please register now if your son or daughter is a candidate for Confirmation and/or First Holy Communion. To register, you may call the Parish Office, 215-561-1313 or send an e-mail directly to Mrs. Patricia Smith, our Coordinator of Religious Education, patty.smith@CathedralRE.org
The second collection at Mass next Sunday will be directed to the Religious Education Programs of the Cathedral Parish. Thank you so very much for all of your goodness and generosity to the Cathedral Parish in so many ways.
God bless you,
Father Dennis Gill
Reverend Gerald Dennis Gill, Rector and Pastor
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
1723 Race Street Philadelphia, PA 19103