How will we answer Jesus’ prayer? (fifth in a series on John chapter 6)

21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: August 23, 2009
Josh 24:1-2, 15-17, 18; Ps 34:2-3, 16-21; Eph 5:25-32; John 6:60-69

When you pray, does God answer your prayers? When you ask for something in prayer, do you get an answer? Do you get what you want? Let’s try it out, right now. “Dear Lord, please give me: a Lexus; a convertible; cherry red; 288 horsepower; in my driveway, tomorrow; with no taxes to pay on it, and a full tank of gas. Amen.” So, what do you think? Will the Lexus be in the driveway tomorrow? Or will there be some kind of note from God explaining why it isn’t? Or will I have an empty driveway and a lot of silence?

Or maybe it won’t actually be silence, but God will be saying something to me that I might not be hearing? Maybe there’s really a dialogue going on? Let’s switch the image. (more…)

Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 7:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” (fourth in a series on John chapter 6)

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Aug. 15-16, 2009
Prov 9:1-6; Ps 34:2-7; Eph 5:15-20; John 6:51-58

In a book published in 1911, the Canadian/American author Ernest Thompson Seton recounted a story that had happened several decades before. Up in the Arctic during the winter a particular band of Algonquin Indians all starved to death—except for one woman and her baby. The woman took her baby and left the camp and set out to reach a place where they could find help. They made it as far as a lake, where she found some equipment, including a fishing line. And there were fish in the lake, but no bait; and they were starving. So the woman took a knife and cut a strip of flesh from her own thigh, and used her own flesh to bait the hook and catch the first fish. And they survived—and the woman always had a scar on her thigh from where she had cut out her own flesh.

It is a striking story, and we immediately grasp what a great love that this woman had for her baby, and what a stunning thing it would be to give your own flesh in order to feed someone you love.

Do we realize that something very like this, and even greater, will happen right here in about 20 minutes? (more…)

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 6:51 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How do we respond to Christ’s gift? (third in a series on John chapter 6)

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Aug. 9, 2009
1 Kings 19:4-8; Ps 34:2-9; Eph 4:30–5:2; John 6:41-51

This is our third Sunday in the Gospel of John chapter 6, and the crowd is starting to get awfully restless. Today we hear them push back against Jesus and object to his words: “How can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

This might seem strange to us if we consider who this crowd is and where they have just been experiencing. They are actually beginning to “bite the hand that feeds them.” Two weeks ago we heard about how Jesus miraculously fed a crowd of 5000 men, plus women and children, from only five loaves and two fishes; and he did it as a sign pointing to some greater truth he wanted to communicate. And then the next day, as we heard last week, the crowd got into boats and crossed the Sea of Galilee to find Jesus again, because they wanted him to satisfy their hungers. (more…)

Published in: on August 9, 2009 at 6:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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What do you hunger for? (second in a series on John chapter 6)

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B: Aug. 1-2, 2009
Exod 16:2-4, 12-15; Ps 78:3-4, 23-25, 54; Eph 4:17, 20-24; John 6:24-35

What do you hunger for? And what will you do to satisfy that hunger?

In our first reading, we see that hunger caused the whole Israelite community to grumble against Moses and Aaron. Of course, they found a lot of reasons to grumble during those years in the desert; but this time it was hunger. And in our Gospel reading, hunger caused the crowd that had been miraculously fed the day before to get into boats and cross the Sea of Galilee, looking for Jesus.

Yesterday morning, when I was working on this homily, I felt the need for a little creative energy boost; and so my hunger prompted me to go to our kitchen. I found some bread rolls, which seemed awfully appropriate for this homily. And I noticed that one of the rolls was just beginning to get a spot of mold, and I thought, “Aha, food that perishes, just like Jesus said.” (more…)

Published in: on August 2, 2009 at 6:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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