From the Pastor – August 5, 2012

Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were reclining, and also as much of the fish as they wanted.  When they had had their fill, he said to his disciples, “Gather the fragments left over, so that nothing will be wasted.” So they collected them, and filled twelve wicker baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves that had been more than they could eat.  When the people saw the sign he had done, they said, “This is truly the Prophet, the one who is to come into the world.” (Jn 6:11-14)

This year the Archdiocese of New Orleans is celebrating a “Year of Renewal: Offering a Worthy Sacrifice of Praise” at the direction of Archbishop Aymond. As I said last week in the bulletin and my homily, the most recent activity of the Year of Renewal is taking place from July 9 to August 26 as we read the “Bread of Life” discourse contained in John 6. The theme that I have been developing through my five homilies is the connection between the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament) and the five selections from John 6. Since the themes of the Torah are (1) the Divine/human relationship, (2) the Promised Land, and (3) the idea of descendants, I will make that the backbone of each homily.

Last week I contrasted the Book of Numbers to the multiplication of the loaves, which contained the numbers of loaves (5) and fish (2), the numbers of men fed (5,000) and the numbers of baskets of bread leftover (12). That homily will be posted on the “Audio Homilies” section of the parish website early this week.

This week, Jesus discusses the “sign” of the multiplication, and then He specifically connects the multiplication to the Manna from Heaven that the Jewish people ate on their Exodus through the desert. Therefore, my homily will be connecting the Gospel passage (John 6:24-35) and the Book of Exodus, a part of which is read as the first reading. Unfortunately, I will not be at the 10:30am Mass on Sunday, and Father Giles Conwill will substitute for me. So I apologize if there is a gap in the “theme” as a result of my absence from that one Mass. However, I will be at the 4:00pm Vigil, and that homily will be recorded and posted early next week.  If you care to follow the theme of the remaining 5 weeks, I will ensure that each of the homilies will be recorded and posted. On August 12, Jesus connects the “bread of life” to His own flesh. On August 19, Jesus tells his followers: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” And finally, on August 26, we hear that some of the followers of Jesus cannot accept this teaching.  They begin to depart. But when He turns to the 12 Apostles and asks them “Do you also want to leave?” And St. Peter speaks for the group when he tells Jesus: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” I hope I can make it across the tightrope!

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty