Sunday, 19 August 2018 : Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time (Homily and Scripture Reflections)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this Sunday, we continue for the third week, the discourse of the Body and Blood of Christ, which in the Gospel passage today, was mentioned by the Lord Jesus Himself, as the food and drink which He would give His people. The Jews, especially the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law were both skeptical and even furious at such a revelation. To them, a Man such as Jesus could not have given Himself for them to eat and drink.

Why is that so? First of all, we have to understand clearly that the Jews understood what they heard from the Lord, from a completely worldly and materialistic perspective. They thought that it was completely disgusting that the Lord Jesus, as someone Who they thought as a Prophet and Holy Man of God, could have said something so unimaginable, as to say that He would give them His own flesh and blood.

But little did they realise that the Lord Jesus was not mincing His words, saying the very truth of what He would do. And this is also the very core and centre of our Christian faith, as we believe in God Who has willingly offered Himself, sacrificed Himself and allowed Himself to be lifted up high on the Cross at Calvary, so that by that offering of Himself, a perfect offering, He may become the worthy absolution for all of our sins.

In the first reading today, taken from the book of Proverbs, we heard about the gift of Wisdom to those who have none, and how Wisdom, personified as a woman, called upon the senseless and all those without wisdom and understanding to share and partake in the food and drink she has prepared. This is a premonition of what the Lord would ultimately reveal, that is the gift of His own true Wisdom, by the giving and sharing of Himself, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.

In the first place, all of us do not have true wisdom in us, unless it came to us from the Lord. God alone knows everything, and He alone has all knowledge, of what is to come for us. He revealed to us all that for all that we have achieved in this world, all the glory and power we have gathered and attained, all of these are nothing without God. For we have to remember, first and foremost, that our lives came from God, and this life we owe it to the Lord alone.

Unfortunately, because of our disobedience, which led us to sin, have sundered us from this source of life. That is why, although once we have been intended to enjoy forever the wonders of the world in perfect bliss and joy, but due to sin, we have been cast out of Eden, and ended up suffering in this world. And we are made to suffer this mortal existence, having to meet with death at the end of our lives.

Because of our sins, we have been made unworthy of God’s grace and love, and we have been made unworthy of God’s holy Presence, as due to our sins, we have been defiled and corrupted. Nothing wicked and evil can stand before God and do not perish, and therefore, death and damnation are our just punishment and consequence for our failure to obey His will. But as we can see, God does not intend this to be our fate.

Instead, God loves each and every one of us so much that He Who has created us out of nothing, wants all of us to be reconciled and reunited with Him. God knows that without Him, all of us will eventually wither and perish, and separated from Him, we will suffer eternal anguish, pain and despair. That is what hell is, brothers and sisters in Christ, the state of existence, where those who have willingly and consciously rejected God, and therefore suffer for eternity the effects of their decision.

Although we mankind have been disobedient and rebellious in our actions, from time to time, day after day, but God is always patient, and He always remembers His love, the same love He has for us ever since the beginning of time. So great is His love, that He has given us the perfect means through which we may gain this reconciliation and reunion with God, and that is through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Saviour.

It is by the perfect and selfless giving of Himself, the perfect offering of His own Body and Blood, on the Altar of the Cross at Calvary, that He has given us the one and only means to be saved from our fated destruction and damnation in hell. He revealed this for the first time to the people in the beginning of His ministry, by what He told them in our Gospel passage today, of Him being the Bread of Life, the Source of our salvation.

But the people and the disciples would not come understand the true meaning of these words until after the Lord has already brought everything to its full and perfect completion. It was only later on that they would realise, through the Holy Spirit, that the Lord has truly done everything He could to save us mankind, even to the point of laying down His life on the cross, and giving us the best gift of all, the Most Holy Eucharist, the proof of His perfect love for us.

And the Eucharist is the centre and heart of all of our faith and belief in God. Why is that so? That is because we believe that, in the Eucharist, which is celebrated at every occasions of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, is the Real Presence of the Lord, truly present in His Most Precious Body and Blood. He is truly present in the flesh, both fully Man and fully Divine as He is.

The bread and the wine offered at the Mass has been transformed completely into the substance, essence and reality of the Lord, Master and God of all. That means, although what we see is still the bread and the wine in appearance, but truthfully and we truly believe, as the core tenet of our Christian faith, that we have received nothing less than Our Lord Himself, present in Body and Blood.

Yet, there are many among us Christians who through our actions or through the way we live our faith, we have not shown appreciation, understanding and the urge as well as desire for the Lord truly present in His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. We have not shown the proper respect or reverence in welcoming Him into our lives. Remember, brothers and sisters, that God Himself has given His own Flesh for us to eat, and His own Blood for us to drink, that by partaking them, we may come to share in both His humanity and divinity.

That means, all of us are dwellings of the Lord, and our bodies, minds, hearts and souls are the Temples of God’s Holy Presence. Yet, many of us treat our body, mind, heart and soul as if without care, corrupting them with sins and wickedness through our actions. How can we then be worthy of God, Who comes to us directly and dwelling in us through His Most Precious Body and Blood?

Let us all reflect on this, and think of how we can correct our attitude and actions, that we may come to be truly faithful to God, and show sincerely, our faith and belief in God, Who is truly present in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. Let us turn to Him wholeheartedly, He Who has given us Himself that by sharing in His death, we may die to our sins, and share in His glorious resurrection as well.

The Lord has revealed this wonderful truth to us, showing us His great and boundless love. Are we able to love Him in the same manner, giving Him all of our attention, focus and our love? Let us all adore Him in the Most Holy Eucharist, His Real Presence among us on earth, and appreciate the fact that He has chosen to come into us, unworthy sinners, that we may be transformed by His Presence, and through the Holy Spirit He has sent us, we may all find true Wisdom, and turn therefore away from the false temptations of the world, and find our true treasure, that is God, and God alone.

May God bless us all, and may He empower each and every one of us, through the most wonderful spiritual sustenance we have received, the Bread of Life, that while once we were sinners doomed to die and perish, we now have the sure hope and assurance of eternal life with our loving God. Amen.

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