Reflection for August 29, 2021
Gospel Reading: Mk 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
This week we return to the Gospel of Mark with Jesus teaching about the Jewish practice of purification. Jesus teaches us that it is not what goes in that defiles us but what comes out. While Jesus was talking about the food we eat we may be tempted to expand the teaching to other things that we consume such as social media, movies, shows, music and video games. I know I use to use this verse as a way to ignore thinking critically about the things I engage in. Rather than using this verse to justify certain behavior perhaps we should use it to reflect on how certain actions and activities affect us interiorly. While its true that what we consume may not be sinful and definitely does not cause us to sin it still can affect us. What goes in may not defile us but it may make it easier to engage in the actions that Jesus warns us against. Another way of thinking about it is that while junk food may not defile us but it does affect us. Over consumption of unhealthy food can physically hurt us and I think an over consumption of technology can certainly damage us spiritually. Think about how you use technology and whether or not that is helping you or hurting you in your pursuit of holiness.
Reflection for August 22, 2021 By Martha Roberts
Gospel Reading: Jn 6:60-69
In today’s gospel, we are shaken immediately with bold words from some of Jesus’ followers: “This is hard, who can accept it?” What is this hard saying, that caused these followers to step back and murmur disbelievingly? It’s found in verse 54, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” These followers are utterly shocked by this.
But guess what? They have every reason to be shocked! They are being told that the gateway to eternal life is through eating the flesh of a first century son of a carpenter! How can eating this bread give us eternal life? We can immediately infer that Jesus must be divine. After all, in verse 41, Jesus says, “I am the bread come down from heaven.” This is unbelievable for the disciples, as they know his parents.
What they don’t understand is that when Jesus became incarnate, he restored the holiness of the sinful creation, which had lost its holiness in the Fall. Although sin was not completely eradicated, the world had a new holy foundation. When we share in the body and blood of Christ, we become part of this foundation.
Why, then, when Jesus asks The Twelve if they also want to leave, does Simon Peter answer the way he does- “To whom else shall we go?” Peter hears the friendly understanding in Jesus’ voice. Jesus knows that the apostles, just like the more wayward followers, came from very common, ordinary backgrounds, and were still very much human, meaning they could be just as shocked. Jesus also knows that as much as He has the power to convert sinners, He gives total room for His apostles’ free will. Again, it’s totally ok to be shocked.
The idea of eating flesh and drinking blood was entirely new to Jesus’ followers. Jesus understood their incredulity. While Jesus’ flesh and blood will give eternal life, his followers must also use their free will to decide whether to believe or not. Jesus cannot live in us if He is only being fed to us by force.
Who else can Simon Peter trust? Although there are plenty of other creeds in the world, which may be easier to follow than Jesus’ creed, Peter has found nowhere else where his eager heart has been satisfied by the deep peace of spending time with the Lord. Peter is humble, unlike the people who murmured. Peter trusts that Jesus’ peace will ultimately resolve his shock.
As we take this passage into our own lives, we must think about which kind of disciples we are. When we have questions about the faith, will we take them to Jesus in prayer? Could we talk to a devout Catholic whom we trust? Or will we try to discover this answer without reference to Jesus, denying the need for Jesus in our lives? Additionally, we must also consider who we’ll follow in life. Will we delve for short term satisfaction in the world? Or will the world’s taunting be resolved by Jesus’ deep peace instead?
Martha is a junior at Martin Saints Classical School
Reflection for August 15, 2021 by James Quinn
Gospel Reading: Lk 1:39-56
In this weeks gospel an angel tells Mary to visit her pregnant cousin Elizabeth. I was drawn to Elizabeth in this weeks gospel, because she knows that Jesus is in Mary’s womb, before Mary tells her. We are told that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, which helped her to see something about Mary that other people didn’t see. What was hidden to other people about Mary, was not hidden to Elizabeth
How many things have we overlooked and dismissed by moving too fast?
Reflection for August 8, 2021 by Cate Quinn
Gospel Reading: Jn 6:41-51
In this week’s Gospel, Jesus proclaims that He is the bread of life, and whoever eats the bread—His flesh, will have eternal life. Jesus says that He is giving up His body to become bread for the world. It’s easy to understand this now, knowing that we participate in the Mass by receiving Eucharist - which is bread that is blessed to contain the Real Presence of Jesus through His sacrifice on the cross. However, when Jesus told His followers this, they didn’t already know the answer like we do. They thought Jesus was asking them to literally eat His body. They didn’t understand, and Jesus wasn’t offering a simple parable to help them out. This was a test of faith. Many were so confused and disturbed they stopped following Jesus. Others distanced themselves, still believing but unsure of how to respond, and their faith diminished. The true followers of Christ took this in stride, not understanding, but knowing that our God is a loving God and wouldn’t force us into something we cannot comprehend. We cannot pick and choose which of Jesus’s teachings we want to follow. We strive to be true followers of Christ, knowing that Jesus will help us understand what we do not. When we are faced with something that is difficult to understand in our world today, do we turn to Jesus? Or do we simply reject it, not willing to trust and learn?
Cate is a rising senior at Villa Joseph Marie Academy.
Reflection for August 1, 2021
Gospel Reading: Jn 6:24-35
This Sunday we continue to take a break from the Gospel of Mark and we hear from the bread life discourse in the Gospel of John. Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus proclaims seven different “I am” statements. Each statement reveals more about who He is and should affect how we relate to Him as well. The seven statements are: 1) I am the Light of the World, 2) I am the Bread of Life, 3) I am the Gate, 4) I am the Good Shepherd, 5) I am the Resurrection and the Life, 6) I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and 7) I am the Vine. Some of the statements help us to desire Jesus while others reveal that we need Jesus. I think this week’s Gospel shows us that we need God, we need Jesus. Just as our body needs food for physical nourishment, our souls need the divine life of God. That is what we are made for. Jesus is the bread that brings life to our souls and we are able to receive this bread every time we go to mass. John chapter 6 is where we learn about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Are you allowing yourself to receive God’s Grace by receiving Christ present in the Eucharist on a weekly basis?
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