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You Shall Never Hunger

“I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger” (Jn 6:35)

Even though this verse from today’s Gospel is referring to spiritual food and hunger, is it true? For those of us who have come to Christ, do we never spiritually hunger?

Well, His Grace in our hearts and souls really does satisfy and fulfill us. But we do speak of and experience a hungering for Christ. Many of us who have had the amazing privilege of attending daily Mass for years have experienced a hunger for the Eucharist if we go anytime without it.

So, how can we understand Jn 6:35? An article below from www.catholic-daily-reflections.com offers a really good explanation of how we can be satisfied by Christ and yet still hunger for Him. The basic point is that His Grace satisfies and satiates us, but we have to be continually nourished by Him.

A new message on our sign has the quote from St. Therese: “Receive Communion often, very often”. Daily Mass!

Wouldn’t it be nice if you were never hungry or thirsty again? What’s fascinating is that Jesus uses these very natural human experiences to teach us about Himself. He uses natural hunger and thirst to teach us that we long to be satisfied spiritually. And there is only one way to satiate these spiritual longings…through Him.

It is a good spiritual practice to reflect upon your natural longings as an analogy for your spiritual longings. Naturally speaking, we regularly get hungry and thirsty. We eat and drink, but several hours later we hunger and thirst again. This is a cycle we cannot avoid. Our body continually craves food and drink.

The same is true on a spiritual level. We cannot pray once and satisfy our spiritual longings forever. We cannot simply believe in Jesus and then be satisfied forever. Why? Because prayer and unity with Jesus is something that must take place daily throughout your day.

The Eucharist offers insights into this hunger and thirst in that it provides us with our “daily” food. It is a gift that we must daily seek. Some of the Sacraments are given to us only once (Baptism and Confirmation). But the Eucharist is a gift that we must continually consume and long for. The fact that we must continually go to Mass and receive the Eucharist tells us that our Christian life is not something that can be fulfilled by one definitive decision. Rather, it’s something that needs daily nourishment and fulfillment.

What do you do to satisfy this Christian longing each and every day? Perhaps you cannot attend Mass every day, but do you seek to fulfill your Christian desire for Christ each and every day? Do you seek Him who is the Bread of Life every day? Do you seek to satiate your thirst with Christ each and every day?

Loving Jesus and following Him is a decision that must be renewed not only each day, it must also be renewed throughout your day. It must be renewed as often as you become physically hungry and thirsty.

Reflect, today, upon these natural longings you have for food and drink to continually remind yourself of your much deeper spiritual longing for Christ. Praying to Him, listening to Him and receiving Him into your soul is the food that satisfies like nothing else. Jesus is the true Bread of Life and your true Spiritual Drink. He is what you are made for. Let Him satisfy your deepest desires in life!

Also, this excerpt from an article at www.osv.com offers more insight to John 6, specifically about those who were fed through the multiplication of the loaves:

The experience of being satisfied with food after a long day clearly made a deep impression. No doubt some of these people were poor and rarely had enough to eat. Others were dreaming of a world in which the Jewish people would once more be fed directly by the hand of God, as they were in the wilderness under Moses (cf., Jn 6:31). For them, the multiplication of the loaves did not merely

point toward the relief of physical hunger but also toward political liberation from the power of Rome. The manna of Exodus had freed the Jewish people to escape the flesh-pots of Egypt. Thus, bread represented both nourishment and freedom.

When Christ answers them, he tries to guide their thinking away from short-term physical and political hopes. “Do not work for food that perishes,” he tells them, “but for the food that endures for eternal life” (Jn 6:27). Later, he clarifies: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51).

May you know the peace of Christ,

Fr Greg

Until a Cloud Hid Him from Their Sight

Happy Feast of the Ascension! I hope you enjoy this spiritual reflection on the Ascension by Sister Wendy Beckett in this month’s Magnificat.

May you know the peace of the risen Christ,

Fr Greg

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The accounts of the Ascension, in three of the Gospels (not John’s) and the Acts of the Apostles, differ slightly, but the gist is very clear: Jesus gave them a final blessing and a commission, and then rose into the air, “until a cloud hid him from their sight”. It is not an easy scene to make visible. The medieval painters managed by showing the Apostles looking upward and two feet at the very top edge of the picture representing Jesus passing from earth to heaven. Unfortunately, the feet are not impressive, aesthetically, and one can see that this image did not appeal to the painter Duccio. What he gives us in his painting of the Ascension is rather indeterminate. It shows Jesus before he makes any movement upward. He is speaking with that unearthly authority that so riveted all who heard him. It is their word that will convert the waiting nations. It is they, up to now only followers, listeners to Jesus, who are now to take the pulpit and teach others, baptize others, do for them what Jesus has done in their own lives.

Duccio has Peter and another Apostle (Matthew the Evangelist?) holding a book. This small and reluctant group, bunched together for support, is already accepting the need to write down what they have witnessed and to accept this terrifying vocation with the utmost devotion to duty. They are standing very straight, their eyes fixed firmly on Jesus for the last time in this life, and he seems half of tiptoe, ready for that dissolving of material ties in the glory of his Father.

Jesus had longed for this day. When he spoke to the Apostles at the Last Supper, he spoke of them being in the world, and how he would send them his Spirit, the Paraclete, to do within them what they could not do alone. To believe in the coming of the Spirit is one of the most emphatic messages. Yet, an undercurrent to the recognition that they are “in the world” is the quiet statement, made in prayer to the Father, “I am coming to you”. Coming to the Father has been the great driving force of Jesus’ life. That is where he is at home, that is where he belongs. He left the Father and all that heaven means so as to draw us out of our darkness and into his light, but how hard it must have been….

They were a feeble little band, but there was no more Jesus could do. He leaves them because they have all they need, and the Spirit will bring it to mind. But they themselves must do it. How God must long to do it for us, and make sure it is done! But that is never his way. We are independent moral beings, and if we use the abundance of grace that flows down upon us, we can become what Jesus is – a true child of God, someone who can echo these words: I am coming to you.

-Sister Wendy Beckett is a South African-born British art expert, consecrated virgin, and contemplative hermit who lives under the protection of a Carmelite monastery in Norfolk, England

We will see Him in the faces of each of these women

I’m sorry that I’m not able to say this in person, but Happy Mother’s Day to all of our mothers, grandmothers, spiritual mothers, and godmothers! The beauty of May reflects the beauty of our mothers, especially Mary, the Mother of God and our Heavenly Mother. As I am still away, I wanted to give you a thoughtful reflection by Ms. Leela Ramdeen at rcsocialjusticett.org. What is beautiful about her thoughts is that they include mothers in all types of situations and advise us too especially “not forget…single women who act as mothers to others.” Mother’s Day is an enormously popular day and rightly so. But, it can be tough for some who she mentions as well as those who have experienced abortion, miscarriage, or infertility. As she says, “we will see Him in the faces of each of these women; we will reach out in compassion to assist them; we will serve them.”

Everything we have in life is from God through our mothers. Thank you, Mothers!

Everything we have in Christ is from God through Mary. Thank you, Mary!

May you know the peace of the risen Christ,

Fr Greg


Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers!

Motherhood is a gift from God and one of the most blessed of vocations. Let us truly celebrate, affirm and honor our mothers – not only today, but throughout the year…

For those of you whose mothers are still alive, express your thanks and appreciation to her each day; work on your relationship with her and cherish your time together as our lives are shorter than we think. If your mother has passed on, try to honor her memory by living your life in a way that will make her proud.

Archbishop Joseph Harris has urged us all to adopt a Missionary Project. Reach out to homeless women, struggling single mothers, elderly women in homes for the aged or those lying in hospitals with no one to visit them. Let us not forget the widows, grandmothers, guardians and the single women who act as mothers to others. If we truly love God, we will see Him in the faces of each of these women; we will reach out in compassion to assist them; we will serve them.

Zenit reports that on May 1 Pope Francis reflected on two traits of Christian identity, saying that Christianity is marked by its concrete presence in history and its focus on service. He said: “Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, inviting them to do as He has done: to serve.

Christian identity is service, not selfishness… We are called to service. Being Christian is not about appearance, or even about social conduct, it’s not a little make-up for the soul, because it should be a little more beautiful. To be Christian is to do what Jesus did: serve!”

Pope Francis invited us to ask ourselves, “In my heart, what more can I do? Do I have other people serve me; do I use others, the community, the parish, my family, my friends? Or do I serve, am I at the service of others?”

Service is not only about charity, but includes acting as advocates – lobbying our politicians to ensure that our economy is working for our mothers, e.g. in the areas of healthcare, education, housing, employment, social services, and poverty reduction. If we are to become servant leaders, we must not turn a blind eye to domestic violence that is destroying the lives of so many of our women – and men. The AEC Bishops rightly focused on this issue during their recent meeting. Let us help our men to be better fathers and husbands/partners.

Family life is under threat globally. Let’s strengthen family life by helping to nurture responsible parenting and create conditions that will allow families to flourish. And employers, play your part also by recognizing and planning for the diverse needs of women as mothers, e.g. by providing workplace crèches, better maternity/paternity entitlements, and a living wage. At a national level, we can serve our mothers by advocating for the development of good economic and social policies to promote the integral human development of mothers.

Mothers, we love you. Turn to Our Lady to intercede with her Son for you as you journey on.

Let us remember the words Pope Francis uttered during the celebration of the Mass of the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God in January 2014:

“Our pilgrimage of faith has been inseparably linked to Mary ever since Jesus, dying on the Cross, gave her to us as our Mother, saying, ‘Behold your Mother!’ (Jn 19:27). These words serve as a testament, bequeathing to the world a Mother. From that moment on, the Mother of God also became our Mother…Mary becomes in this way a source of hope and true joy!

The Mother of the Redeemer goes before us and continually strengthens us in faith, in our vocation and in our mission…To her let us entrust our journey of faith, the desires of our heart, our needs and the needs of the whole world, especially of those who hunger and thirst for justice and peace, and for God.”

The strength of our nation depends, to a large part, on the strength of our mothers. We thank you, Lord, for the gift of our remarkable mothers, and for their steadfast love.

10 Reflections for Advent

I recently shared this in the bulletin, but these are great tips from Our Sunday Visitor.  I hope you’ll pause during this busy holiday season and consider the 2nd coming of Christ.

-Fr Greg

10 Tips for Reflection at Advent

  • Reflect on Advent as a time of waiting. The idea of waiting is not popular in our culture of instant gratification, but it creates in us a new kind of self-discipline that helps us to appreciate the present moment and look to the future with peaceful anticipation.
  • Turn your breathing into a prayer. Take a few deep breaths throughout the day and imagine that God’s love is flowing through you to every part of your body. As you exhale, let go of tension, worry and anything else that is not of God.
  • Long for the Lord. Make it a habit of silently praying, “Come, Lord Jesus.”
  • Unite with Mary. Set aside time once a day to join Our Lady in praying the Canticle of Mary (see Lk 1:46-55).
  • Do something nice for someone every day. It might be an encouraging word, a phone call, a note of appreciation or a little act of kindness.
  • Get rid of grudges. Use Advent as an opportunity to let go of any anger or resentment that you might be holding onto.
  • Pray for patience. If you find yourself becoming anxious or upset, ask the Lord for the gift of patience. Then make a conscious effort to be a more patient person.
  • Offer up something painful or difficult in your life. The best way to transform trials and tensions is to turn them into a prayer.
  • Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Attend your parish penance service and take advantage of the opportunity to cleanse your soul in preparation for the coming of Jesus.
  • Think about the special gifts and talents God has given you. How are you using these gifts?

 -Lorene Hanley Duquin