Saturday, August 1, 2020

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Today, the Eucharist is foreshadowed in the gospel’s telling of Jesus’s multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Matthew 14: 13-21). When the disciples tell Jesus to send the crowd away, he tells them to feed them. They protest, but from a meager supply of five loaves and two fish, Our Lord feeds five thousand men, not counting women and children. How often in our own lives do we face a seemingly impossible situation? God asks us to go beyond what we are can do or endure: patience, generosity and forgiveness do not come easily to us. But with his help we can accomplish all things.

Here are a few paragraphs on this subject from St. Pope John Paul II’s 1998 Apostolic Letter Dies Domini (On Keeping the Lord’s Day). It’s a long document, but well worth reading and praying over from time to time.
The Eucharist is an event and programme of true brotherhood. From the Sunday Mass there flows a tide of charity destined to spread into the whole life of the faithful, beginning by inspiring the very way in which they live the rest of Sunday. If Sunday is a day of joy, Christians should declare by their actual behaviour that we cannot be happy on our own. They look around to find people who may need their help. It may be that in their neighbourhood or among those they know there are sick people, elderly people, children or immigrants who precisely on Sundays feel more keenly their isolation, needs and suffering. It is true that commitment to these people cannot be restricted to occasional Sunday gestures. But presuming a wider sense of commitment, why not make the Lord’s Day a more intense time of sharing, encouraging all the inventiveness of which Christian charity is capable? Inviting to a meal people who are alone, visiting the sick, providing food for needy families, spending a few hours in voluntary work and acts of solidarity: these would certainly be ways of bringing into people’s lives the love of Christ received at the Eucharistic table.
Lived in this way, not only the Sunday Eucharist but the whole of Sunday becomes a great school of charity, justice and peace. The presence of the Risen Lord in the midst of his people becomes an undertaking of solidarity, a compelling force for inner renewal, an inspiration to change the structures of sin in which individuals, communities and at times entire peoples are entangled. Far from being an escape, the Christian Sunday is a prophecy inscribed on time itself, a prophecy obliging the faithful to follow in the footsteps of the One who came to preach good news to the poor, to proclaim release to captives and new sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord (Lk 4:18-19). In the Sunday commemoration of Easter, believers learn from Christ, and remembering his promise: I leave you peace, my peace I give you (Jn14:27), they become in their turn builders of peace.

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