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Friday, 20 August 2021 23:40

Celebrating At Home - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Lord, who shall we go to

The affirmation of faith in God by the people in the first reading from the Old Testament book of Joshua is echoed by Peter’s affirmation of faith in Jesus in the Gospel. Joshua says: It’s decision time. Who will be your God? The people answer: We remember what God has done for us. We have no intention of deserting the Lord our God - unlike some of the followers of Jesus in the Gospel.

Our excursion into the ‘Bread of Life’ passages of Chapter 6 of Saint John’s Gospel comes to an end today.

Over the last four Sundays, St John has taken us on a journey of discovering Jesus as the living Word of God who nourishes and strengthens us on our journey; as the living bread who gives his very self (flesh and blood) for the life of the world; and, today, as the bread of faith. Those who share the bread of faith are those who have chosen to believe in Jesus and follow him.

Only by drawing life from Jesus can one be drawn into the life of God. We feed on Jesus so that he becomes part of us and his life continues to grow in us and our life becomes caught up in his. That life draws us into communion with the life of God. We become sharers in that life, our awareness of which is nourished and strengthened as we eat and drink.

This meditation from John is about how Jesus is still present and a source of faith and nourishment in the life of the post-resurrection Christian community. The ‘real presence’ of Jesus lives on in the community. That presence is perceived by faith and received as living Word, food and drink, nourishing disciples in their journey to be the ‘real presence’ of Jesus in the world, the everlasting sign of God’s love for all.

At Eucharist we gather in communion with each other, with Jesus the Word, with Jesus the Bread and Wine. We are doing in a sacramental way what Jesus is doing in a real way within us. The Eucharist is teaching us how to live our lives as Christian disciples: how to be in communion with God and each other through our communion with Jesus.

What we physically eat and drink become us. Food changes and transforms cells, blood, muscle, tissue and organs. The purpose of Christian life is for us to become Christ. Having faith, being nourished by him changes and transforms us into his body and blood for the life of the world. We become the real presence of Jesus in the world today.

Connections to the Eucharist

The words of the Gospels of these five Sundays parallel our experience of celebrating the Eucharist. There are three ‘holy communions’ at mass, not one. There is the communion of believers, as the people of Christ gather to celebrate the Eucharist; the communion of the Word when we listen together to the Scriptures; and the communion of the Bread and Wine when we eat and drink together. These communions are holy because, through Christ, God and human beings are in communion with one another and God is at work nourishing, healing, redeeming and forming the face of his Son within us – so that we may be the living presence of Christ in the world today. Feasting on Christ in Word and Sacrament, we too, are called to nourish and strengthen each other on our journey to God.

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Celebrating at Home is a Liturgy of the Word centred around the Gospel reading for each Sunday. It includes a reflection on the Gospel and prayers.

It can be used personally or with your family. Parts for all to pray are given in bold print and all the other parts can be shared among those present.

We hope that Celebrating at Home will be a source of nourishment and strength for all who use it.

In the room you decide to use for this prayer you could have a lighted candle, a crucifix and the Bible. These symbols help keep us mindful of the sacredness of our time of prayer and can help us feel connected with our local worshipping communities.

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