From the Pastor – August 2, 2009

As I mentioned last weekend, the Gospel this Sunday is a continuation of the 6th Chapter of John’s Gospel. Last week we heard about the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes. As I said, that miracle – the only one recounted in all four of the Gospels – is a prefigurement of the Eucharist. Jesus comes to the people and fills them with earthly food. This weekend we read verses 24-25 of the same 6th Chapter. We hear that the people who had been fed have searched and found Jesus again. And the first thing he gives them is a rebuke: “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.” It’s an almost shocking statement, isn’t it? Since we know that Jesus loved those people, it sounds harsh that He would chastise them for coming to see Him again. And that’s when we realize that Jesus has a deeper message He wants to impart. And He adds that in the next sentence: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” The point that He is making is that He didn’t come just to provide a permanent earthly source of life (i.e. the bread and fish). In other words, He didn’t come to comfort us here. The reason Jesus came is to lift us up to the Father in Heaven. He came for the express purpose of bringing us into an Eternal Banquet with the Communion of Saints in Heaven. And since Heaven is the goal, and Jesus is the means, this important chapter of John’s Gospel helps us to understand how we are called to respond. And the first way to respond is to believe in Him.

Oftentimes, we can look to the Lord and the Church as disappointing in that we don’t get what we want. We didn’t like the homily, or we didn’t like the teaching with which we disagreed, or we didn’t like the ministries that the parish offers. And that can be natural. We might keep coming to see what we can do to make it better. But we should always remember that Jesus came, and established a Church, so that we could continue to grow in our knowledge of Heaven – our Eternal Home.

You might remember that I often write homilies and bulletin articles relating the Gospel to what I need to hear. How encouraging to me that the Church has given us this Heavenly reminder so soon after the death of my Dad. I need to keep my focus on the Heavenly Banquet so I don’t get so discouraged about the times that I’m going to miss dining with my Dad during the rest of my earthly life.

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty