2015-08-02, 18th B, The Secret

Homily 08-02-15
Eighteenth Sunday Ord, B
Ex 16:2-4, 12-15; Ps 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54; Eph 4:17, 20-24; Jn 6:24-35

 (Scriptures included after homily)

As much as we try to be politically correct and not pass judgment on others, there are, obviously, people in the past and in the present, who have figured out the “Great Secret of Life.”  We may call them Saints. We may call them Blessed. And they might even be sitting right next to us!  These people have “Got it!”  And because we can see that ‘something different’ in them, we often single them out as special!

And these people know that what they’ve “got” doesn’t have anything to do with: how pretty they are, how rich, how charismatic, how confident they may seem, how loud they may speak, or even how full their stomachs are.

Unfortunately that cuts out about 50% of the world’s population.

And they know that knowing this “Secret,” doesn’t have anything to do with heredity, although, some people ARE born with this wisdom.  And it’s not totally dependent upon their upbringing either, as parents who understand the Secret can attest.  And it doesn’t have to do with age, as some people may take a lifetime to “get it,” while to others, it may come before they even begin to speak.

And the people who do get it, also know, that it’s not something that they could just give to another person, try as they might.  So, IF we’re here, holding our breath for the answer, we might as well just go back to sleep, because you see, it’s already been given to us.

But, if we still insist on hearing even just one Word to help describe it, that Word might be: BELIEF.  And those who still don’t quite ‘get it’ will now be thinking to themselves, “Oh, Deacon Joe, that’s no big Secret. We ALL believe, otherwise we wouldn’t be here!” 

But the question is, “Believe, what?

Do we believe in Heaven?
Then why are we so worried about Death?

Do we believe in Hell?
Then why do we still Sin?

Do we believe in Love? 
Then, why are we not on our hands and knees, every day, praying for our nation’s leaders, who are destined for hell, unless they start making better moral choices, instead of grumbling and cursing them.

If we truly believe in Love, then we’ll love THEM, as well as the Saints.
And in that Love, we don’t want to see anyone, even our enemies, suffer the horrendous torment of hell, of being separated from God forever.

And there’s the Big One:
Do we truly BELIEVE in God?

If we ever, actually read the Bible through, it would be as obvious as the sun in the sky.  We’d read about people who refuse to believe in God, no matter how many, or how spectacular God’s miracles may have been.  From flooding the earth and saving Noah, to splitting open the sea and drying out an escape path for the Israelites; from feeding a nation in the desert, to giving birth from a virgin, it’s ALL there.  There is more PROOF of God in the Bible than we can shake a stick at.

And yet, there are still those who want to make themselves BE god, instead of giving themselves over to: the One who created them, the One who forgives them, the One who has the power to save them: IF they just LET Him.

Jesus said, “I Am the Bread of Life.”

To a world, whose stomach may be their god, and whose bathroom scale may be their judge, Jesus says, “Come to me” and you will NEVER Hunger.

You see, in these Words, Jesus replaces the false god of indulgence, with our TRUE God of satisfaction.  So, don’t fret over food, brothers and sisters, for Jesus IS the Bread of Life, and He calls us, He invites us to Come.  And He FILLS us with Life.

Jesus said, “I Am the Bread of Life.”

To a world, whose thirsty craving for pride; whose greed and whose empty complaints may be their god, Jesus says, “Believe in me” and you will NEVER Thirst.

And in these words, Jesus shows us that there truly IS more to Life than its obvious physical nature.  There IS the Eternity of Heaven when we believe.  So, don’t fret, brothers and sisters over money or fame, over what the other guy or gal thinks or says about us, over what we’re going to say or how we’re going to look to this beautiful congregation of God’s saints, for Jesus IS the Bread of Life, and He calls us to Believe.  And He FILLS us with Life.

If we’re still searching for the answer to the “Secret of Life;” whether by accident or on purpose, we’ve come to the right place.  And yet, there really are NO accidents, because God has brought each and every one of us here for a reason.

Jesus is here to nourish us:
in Word, in Sacrament and in Community.

And ALL we have to do – is LET HIM.

jmp 08-02-15

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Scripture Readings for the Mass of 08-02-15
18th Sunday Ordinary Time B

First Reading:  Ex 16:2-4, 12-15

The whole Israelite community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.  The Israelites said to them, “Would that we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our fleshpots and ate our fill of bread!  But you had to lead us into this desert to make the whole community die of famine!”

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.  Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion; thus will I test them, to see whether they follow my instructions or not.

“I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites.  Tell them: In the evening twilight you shall eat flesh, and in the morning you shall have your fill of bread, so that you may know that I, the LORD, am your God.”

In the evening quail came up and covered the camp.  In the morning a dew lay all about the camp, and when the dew evaporated, there on the surface of the desert were fine flakes like hoarfrost on the ground.  On seeing it, the Israelites asked one another, “What is this?” for they did not know what it was.  But Moses told them, “This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat.”

Responsorial Psalm:  Ps 78:3-4, 23-24, 25, 54

R. The Lord gave them bread from heaven.
What we have heard and know, and what our fathers have declared to us, we will declare to the generation to come the glorious deeds of the LORD and his strength and the wonders that he wrought.
R.
He commanded the skies above and opened the doors of heaven; he rained manna upon them for food and gave them heavenly bread.
R.
Man ate the bread of angels, food he sent them in abundance.  And he brought them to his holy land, to the mountains his right hand had won.
R.

Second Reading:  Eph 4:17, 20-24

Brothers and sisters:  I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds; that is not how you learned Christ, assuming that you have heard of him and were taught in him, as truth is in Jesus, that you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.

Gospel:  Jn 6:24-35

When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus.  And when they found him across the sea they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

Jesus answered them and said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate the loaves and were filled.  Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.  For on him the Father, God, has set his seal.”

So they said to him, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent.”

So they said to him, “What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?  What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

So they said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”

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