Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle B
Reflecting on John 6: 24-35
We interrupt this gospel for a five-week message from our sponsor, the Bread of Life. Yes, it’s that time again. Every three years, while we’re hearing Mark’s gospel for the entire year, we get a jolt in the middle of the summer. Suddenly, the earliest gospel, thought by most scholars― but not all― to have been written in Rome sometime in the mid-seventies, is pre-empted by the latest gospel, John, thought by most scholars― but not all―to have been written in Ephesus toward the end of the first century.
I often joke that if Mark wanted his gospel to get the same uninterrupted reading through the 34 weeks of Ordinary Time that Matthew and Luke are given, he should have written a longer gospel. But its brevity is not the reason for the five-week Johannine commercial. The Church has a “tell,” a weakness, a sure giveaway. Give the Church a moment to talk about the sixth chapter of John’s gospel and it will gleefully grab five weeks.
That’s because the Bread of Life discourse―the long conversation between Jesus and his disciples about the Eucharist―is at the heart of the Catholic belief in Real Presence. And Real Presence, it goes without saying, is at the center of the Catholic heart.
The disciples heard Jesus say this astounding thing: he is the eternal Bread of Life. The Eucharist is not a symbol of Christ’s life in us. That should stand the little hairs on our arms straight up, because that is heresy, and heresy is very scary business.
The consecrated Bread and Cup are the REAL PRESENCE of Christ. They knew this in the first century. We get five weeks to remind us again.
What is your favorite memory of your First Communion?
Kathy McGovern ©2018
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