20TH SUNDAY in ORDINARY TIME
August 19, 2018
In this Sunday’s Gospel, the conflict escalates in the Bread of Life Discourse. Confusion is mounting in the crowd. “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” Their minds were thinking literally, not mystically. Jesus doesn’t seem to help, however, and only drives His point home with more emphasis. “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life within you.” Jesus would later institute the Eucharist at the Last Supper. There He would definitively establish the sacramental reality in which bread and wine become substantially His own Body and Blood. We celebrate this sacrament in the Mass. Perhaps we do not always understand what we receive. “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” What is the essence of food and drink? Food nourishes our bodies, providing essential calories for our survival. Water is used throughout the body to cushion joints, regulate body temperature, and protect sensitive tissues like the brain. When we receive the Eucharist, we receive the spiritual equivalent of these essential elements. Like water, the Eucharist strengthens the sanctifying grace moving through us. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” The Eucharist connects us intimately to Jesus and confirms our union with Him. That is why we abstain from the Eucharist while in a state of mortal sin. It would be a contradiction and deep disrespect to these words of Jesus. To receive the Body and Blood of Jesus is not a right but a gift we receive with deep humility. As we receive the Bread of Life, grace strengthens our love, separates us from sin — even wiping away venial sins — unifies us with the universal Church, and helps commit us to humble service. Together we are nourished for our mission in the world!
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Last week I shared my thoughts on St. Peter so this week I will share my thoughts in regards to St. Paul. St. Paul, who started out as Saul, did not have such an easy life. He started out persecuting the Christians until God called him to conversion. God did this by knocking him off his donkey onto his backside and blinding him at the same time. After restoring his sight, He sent him to preach Jesus Christ as Lord. In these travels he was ship-wrecked, imprisoned, tortured, stoned and left thirsty and hungry many times. In the end he was beheaded. One could understand if he questioned God’s love for him or thought that God was getting even with him for persecuting God’s people. But he never did! Instead of questioning why God would allow these things to happen to him, he saw these things as opportunities to receive God’s Grace knowing that God would give him the strength and courage he needed to withstand these misfortunes. He also knew God had already forgiven him his past, after all he did restore his vision and thus it was not a punishment of any kind. He trusted and had faith in God to the very end of his life. Which brings me to his death for St. Paul saw his own beheading as a blessing (like St. Peter saw his crucifixion as a blessing – to die as his Lord died was an honor) for to St. Paul death was gain for it meant he would be with Christ for all eternity. These are the reasons I have a devotion to St. Paul for I try my best to always remember in bad times that God is with me to give me strength and courage to give me the Grace I need to endure my trials. I also have said to people that while I do not fear death, I do fear dying. What is the difference? Death is the end result of dying whereas dying is the processes that leads to death. I do not want to die by being eaten alive by anything or burning to death for an example of what I mean by fearing dying. But death, the end result, I do not fear for I have adapted to St. Paul’s way of thinking that death is gain for it means being with Christ in paradise for all eternity. My brothers and sisters let us go through life following the example of these two great saints for if we do, we will find life to be a lot better and we will have enjoying life in paradise with Christ for eternity to look forward to as they did.
God Bless you and have a wonderful week, Fr. Michael
SCRIPTURAL REFLECTIONS ON STEWARDSHIP
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” Jesus knows that our stewardship journey will be difficult; we are not designed to do it on our own. Fortunately, Jesus gave us the greatest gift of all – the gift of the Eucharist; His own body and blood. When we join our sacrifices with the sacrifice of the Mass, we find the strength and courage to be His joyful disciples.
PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SICK
That God will relieve their suffering and restore them to health. Please pray for: Kellie Salata, Kelly Chinchar, Jessica, Carol Mangino, Gloria, Daniel Breslin, Stanley, Marie, Bonnie, Helen raina, Joseph Marrone, Bill Marshall, Anthony, Michael, Denise Gautier, Joseph, Christine Morrison, Jessica Esopo, Jack McShera, Theresa McPeak.
The gift of Bread & Wine for the first two weeks of August has been given in memory of John Dalessio by Betty Dalessio.
The Sanctuary Lamp for the first two weeks of August has been given in memory of Eugene Godlesky by the family.
MASS INTENTIONS FOR THE WEEK
SATURDAY, AUGUST 18, 2018
8:30 For the People of the Parish & Margaret Voorhis by Joseph Voorhis
SUNDAY, AUGUST 19, 2018
8:00 For the People of the Parish
10:00 Annv. Mario Romano by Nancy Romano & Family
12:00 Annv. Anthony Falato by the Family
MONDAY, AUGUST 20, 2018
8:30 John Dalessio by Betty Dalessio
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2018
8:30 For the People of the Parish
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22, 2018
8:30 Maria & Domenico Rizzo by Mr. & Mrs. Antonio Brando
THURSDAY, AUGUST 23, 2018
8:30 John J. Falato by Josephine Falato
FRIDAY, AUGUST 24, 2018
8:30 Clara, Richard, Edward & Edward Jr. Kearney by Helen & Gregg Traina
SATURDAY, AUGUST 25, 2018
8:30 Michéle Totaro by Nicola & Maria Totaro
5:00 pm Annv. Ramon Tandoc by the Gregorio Family
SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2018
8:00 For the People of the Parish
10:00 Mary Maffetone by the Family
12:00 Guido Padula by the Padula Family
2018 Sharing God’s Blessings Annual Appeal
We have received $4,660 in pledges towards our goal of $11,333. There are pledge forms in the back of church. Thank you for your prayers and support.