Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time August 4-5, 2018
From Fr. Anthony Ligato
Remembering Who you are!
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
It is said that the internet has a long memory and that all those who post information about themselves should remember that what they post today will be there next week, next month and next year. We then should not post anything that would be embarrassment to us next week, next month or next year. It then becomes important for us to remember who we are as people of faith. And who we are as people of faith should guide our behavior and actions. So, who are we? This question should not simply be an- swered on a personal and individualistic level, but in reference to our relationship to God. All the scriptures today define who we are by telling us that we are blessed by God, for all blessing come from God.
The Israelites had to be reminded that God had blessed them. When they were in the desert and grumbling because they were hungry and thirsty. Their memories seemed to become faulty in the barren Desert. All the sudden they remembered their enslavement in Egypt as good, how our memories can play tricks on us. They forgot who they were, that they were God’s chosen people. But God did not forget, and so God fed them Manna in the desert. “Then the Lord said to Moses, I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.” (Exodus 16:2-4,12-15) We have this written down in the Book of Exodus today because ultimately, they re- membered who they were, God’s chosen people who were greatly blessed for the Lord gave them bread to eat.
The second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians says even more bluntly, that we should not be trapped in our minds by the memories that are futile but rather remember the goodness of the Lord. St. Paul says, “I declare and testify in the Lord that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in futility of their minds, that is not how you learned Christ.” (Ephesian 4:17,20-24) St. Paul tells us to throw off the old self and to remember who we are, that we are a new creation. Let us remember that truth rather than our old selves.
We continue to hear Jesus’ Bread of Life Discourse from the Gospel of John, and what we must remember above all else, is thatJesus told us who he is in today’s Gospel, “I am the Bread of Life;whoever comes to me will never hunger and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:24-35) By telling us who he is, Jesus tells us who we are. “For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” The bread that comes down from heaven gives us new life. This bread is Jesus Christ who brought creation into being by the spoken word of God, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word became flesh.” (John1:1-18) It is important for us to remember who Jesus is, if we are ever going to have a hope in knowing and remembering who we are.
Remembrance is at the core of our Eucharistic Theology and can be heard throughout the liturgy. In the liturgy we remember from the first moments of the beginning when we make the sign of the cross, we remember what our Savior suffered and died for, you and me! The scriptures are proclaimed to remind us of the wonder workings of God and the people of Israel put them together in written form so that these wonder works of God would never be forgotten. It is in the Liturgy of the Eucharistic that bread and wine are consecrated with the words of institution, Jesus tell us to do this in memory of him. What we pray in the Eucharistic Prayer when we consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, is all about remembering. What Jesus has done for us in the past, he continues to do for us in the present moment and he will continue to do for us in the future. This is the sign the crowd was asking for, the greatest miracle and sign happens every time we celebrate the Eucharist, Jesus becomes truly present in his Body and Blood and by our receiving the Eucharist, we remember who we are. So, who are you, you are the Body of Christ.
The Eucharistic Congress on September 22 at the Shrine of the North American Martyrs is an opportunity for us all to remember and celebrate who we are as the Body of Christ and as the Body of Christ, what Jesus has done for us in the past, he continues to do for in the present and he will continue to do for us in the future. Please sign up today at the entrance of Church and join us as a member of the Body of Christ.
Yours in Christ,