Striving for Deeper Holiness: August 8, 2021

PASTOR’S WEEKLY SPIRITUAL MESSAGE

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Friends, what sustains you on your life journey? I bet many of us would make a lot of different and important answers. For some of us, it's friendships. For others, it's the depth of our relationship with perhaps your spouses, your family members, and people who make your lives meaningful. For others of us, our routines, our workouts, or relationships we have, or the jobs that we found meaningful. There are many things that sustain us on our journey, that enable us to be who we are.

But Jesus in today's gospel, taken from the end of the sixth chapter of John, claims that he is the one who sustains us. Jesus says, "I am the bread of life," and there's a great opposition against it. The Jews murmur and complain about Jesus, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat? We know him. We know his family. He cannot come from heaven. How can he do it?" And Jesus over and over and over again, five times, repeats the same thing: "I am the bread of life. Unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you will not have life within you."

Jesus promises that our reception of the Eucharist, our unity with him in prayer, especially in Sunday worship, will be for us a vehicle, not only of fulfillment and peace, but will enable us to be people who are finding themselves, ourselves on the mission of proclaiming the good news, bringing peace, justice, and hope to others.

Friends, what sustains us, Jesus claims, is our relationship with him. And so many people simply don't know it. So many of us treat Sunday Mass or the Eucharist or the sacraments as additions to our daily activities when we have time. We think that somehow the relationships we have, the activities that we plan will sustain us long term. Jesus makes a radical and bold claim that those will not sustain us in this life and surely not prepare us for eternal life. He claims to be that. And so we, as Christians, we as Catholics have to make a decision point whether we believe that Jesus is true and that his teaching is right, and therefore that he is the one who sustains us or that all his teaching is false. But if indeed his teaching is true, then Jesus invites us to receive him as often as we can so we can be sustained. You see, our presence here on Sundays sustains us on our Christian journey and enables us to be people of hope and enables us to find peace and love not only in ourselves, but in the world that surrounds us.

I invite you, friends, to consider coming back to Saint Clement to worship with us in this beautiful space and to remind yourself of how important Jesus is to you. Here throughout the summer, we welcome so many new families and we are so blessed with so many meaningful relationships with people who minister in the church and minister in Christ's name to those in need. I invite you to consider joining some of our ministries this year. If you are new to Saint Clement, visit clement.org to register to be a member of our parish. We'd love you to make a next step with us in recognizing how powerfully Jesus is working in your life and how Jesus never wants you to be hungry or confused. If you come and receive his presence, he will, bit by bit, transform your life and lead you to a place of peace. God bless you all!