Homily: Nineteenth Sunday Year B The Eucharist

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Homily Nineteenth Sunday Year B

 

Reading 1: Elijah has confronted the infidelity of the nation of Israel. Their king, Ahaz, was wicked and did abominable deeds. His wife, Jezebel, was a foreigner, who brought the worship of her gods with her. Ahaz had temples built to her gods for worship. Elijah was told by God to confront this head on.

 

Elijah had all the false prophets killed. Jezebel was furious and sought to kill Elijah. That is why he is fleeing and wants to die. Gut God has other plans for him. You ever felt that way.

 

Elijah is obedient. He is told to go to the mountain of God, Horeb in the desert. Mt. Horeb in the OT was the place of Moses’ encounters with God during the Exodus journey. There Moses had the burning bush experience; there God gave him the Ten Commandments, making a covenant with the people. There God provided water when the people complained.

 

While waiting upon the Lord, Elijah also has an encounter with God. God speaks to him in the whisper of the wind. God told him to anoint another king to succeed Ahaz and a prophet to succeed him.  He had a destination and a purpose, to follow the way of the Lord, to hear the word of the Lord and to act on the word of the Lord. He was obedient.  Like Elijah we have to learn how to be attentive to that small voice of the Lord, as he guides us through the difficulties and storms of our life journey. Sometimes we look for God in the wrong places, rather than be still and wait upon the Lord. Like Elijah we are called to listen, to obey and to act.

 

Gospel: Last Sunday in the first reading, the Israelites in the desert murmured and complained that they did not have food. So God gave them manna in the morning and quail in the evening. They were never satisfied.

 

Like their ancestors of old, the people in Jesus’ day murmured against Jesus, even though he was speaking the truth to them. They had been fed with the few loaves and fish. Now they wanted more. They could not accept Jesus for who he was, even though they had seen the signs and wonders Jesus performed.  Jesus said they should hunger for the true bread that will allow them to live forever. Their ancestors ate manna in the desert and complained against God that they were tired of the same food every day.

 

 

Jesus said their ancestors died even so. But those who shall eat his Body and his Blood will live forever with him. We know that Jesus was not talking about physical death, for we know all of us will die. He was referring to the eternal death of alienation from God. But those who share in the life of God at the time of physical death will live forever. Those who do not share in the life of God by their choice will die the second death, eternal separation from God.  But this is not an external sharing, but an internal, life-giving union.

 

How many people partake of the Eucharist out of doing what is culturally acceptable or ritually done? How many still do not confront the sins in their lives and still receive the Lord? There is a disconnect between what God desires and what we want. Are we in union with Go, when we receive the Eucharist? Do we seek to stay in union with God through the week?

 

Reading 2: Paul reminds the Christians in Ephesus not to grieve the Spirit with which they were sealed for the day of redemption.  Like them when we were baptized, we were anointed with the sacred oil of Chrism by which we received the life of God and became Temples of the Spirit. We began the journey of redemption to be completed if we die in Christ. The gift of the Spirit was for our sanctification, so that we can be holy as God is holy. Sin is the opposite to our sanctification.

 

Paul says that sin must be constantly avoided and removed from us. Instead, we need to become more and more virtuous, living and acting in love as Christ has loved us by giving his life for our life. Am I seeking to be a virtuous person? Am I just living with and in sin or am I confronting the very roots of sin with me?


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