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Invitation To The Banquet

     Earlier this past week the church celebrated the feast day of St Maximilian Kolbe, a priest and martyr. St Maximilian was once quoted in saying, "If angels could be jealous of men, they would be so for one reason: Holy Communion." Maximilian was stressing, within this simple quote, the power, necessity, and specialness of the Eucharist, that it would make even the angels jealous. For the past five weeks within the Sunday lectionary, we have heard the "Bread of Life" discourse from the deeply theological Gospel of John. This discourse is the first theological work on the Eucharist, the bread of life. Within this discourse we begin to develop our Eucharist celebrations, traditions, and reasoning.

     The first reading illustrates for us the beauty and hard work of lady wisdom preparing for a banquet. Wisdom prepares the meal, and calls us to the banquet, and is critical that we leave behind our immaturity so that we might live and fully participate of her prepared banquet. Wisdom had come to be understood has Gods actions in the world. So the first reading is read has God himself preparing the banquet, and calling each of us to come, live, and eat at it.

    The Gospel is Jesus' plea of our necessity to eat of his life giving flesh, and drink of his blood for eternal life. Jesus says in todays Gospel, " Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in them... " (Jn 6: 56) Jesus shares with us how essential it is for  us to eat his body and drink his blood, to abide in him. Our goal, should be to always abide in Jesus (to follow, obey, hold to, have faith in... ect)  When we do abide in Him we gain, what he promises, eternal life.

    To completely abide in Christ requires us to have faith. The very nature to recieve Christ, requires a faith response from us. It demands that we "lay aside immaturity"  so that we may be open to receiving the full fruits of the banquet. It calls us to leave behind our individualism, and to be " filled with the Holy spirit... and make music to the Lord in [our] hearts, giving thanks to God... for everything" (Ephesians 5: 18-20). To abide in him requires that we develop, grow, and have a relationship with Him. It is our personal faith that allows us to or not to abide in him completely. God is constantly outpouring to us, the gift of is Son, it is our response that is either blocking or opening the path to a deep and beautiful relationship with Christ.

    This passage we hear from John, makes it clear that Jesus is the banquet. That he is what we come to when we answer the invitation to Wisdoms' banquet.  This banquet is prepared by God, in heaven, who has given his Son, Jesus, has life for the world. However, we are called to a banquet here on earth, a banquet which is a taste of the heavenly banquet to come, that is, the Mass.

     In the passage from John given this weekend, we hear two key words which make up a Hebrew idiom, " Flesh and blood." This phrase is used to metaphorically speak of the entirety of a person. So when Jesus declares that he will give us his flesh and blood to eat and drink, he is promising to give us himself- his entire self.  When we gather for Mass, we are given the new Manna, the new bread from heaven. We are given the manna that will make us " live for ever." (Jn 6:58) This manna is the full, human and divine, body and blood, and sacrifice of Jesus. This bread is bread that will give life to the world, an eternal life, which is only from God. 

    This weekend, we are invited to a banquet prepared by God for anyone who will respond His constant call. We are invited to the banquet where Jesus is the eternal, life giving manna offered to fill our spiritual hunger. It is this new manna that we are invited to receive at Mass. It is this life giving communion, that we participate in each time we go to Mass, that is a taste of the heavenly banquet. It is through receiving, and abiding in Christ, that we can become one with Him.  The Eucharist is special; it is Gods visible love for the human race. Everyone is called to this banquet, it is we that respond and accept or decline. 

Will you accept Gods call to partake of the banquet of His Son in the Bread and Wine at Mass? 





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