Friday, August 7, 2009

If You Believe Then Why Aren't You Eating?" 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

This is our third weekend exploring John, Chapter Six. Two weeks ago we read about the Loaves and the Fishes and last week we read another portion of the Bread of Life discourse. This weekend we continue where Jesus left off last week.

At the end of last weeks reading, Jesus says, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger,and whoever believes in me will never thirst." The Jews, who must have had the same mentality as cops because they are always skeptical, started talking amongst themselves saying, "Whatever--This is Jesus. We grew up with him. We know his mom and dad. He didn't come down from Heaven. He must be smoking something." Never mind the fact that he just multiplied the fishes and loaves.
Jesus tells the Jews, "Stop talking amongst yourselves. I'm RIGHT here. I can HEAR you!" (that parts not actually scripture but I can imagine it)
Jesus then says, "Amen, Amen, I say to you." (I find that whenever Jesus says, "Amen Amen, I say to you" he is about to say something important) and continues:

"whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors
ate the manna in the desert, but they died;this is the bread that comes down
from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. 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."

I gave the rest of the reading because I didn't want to take things out of context but three lines there strike me. The first is "whoever believes has eternal life." The second is "whoever eats this bread will live forever." Finally, "the bread that I will give is my flesh."

As Catholics we believe in the "real presence." We believe that during mass that the bread and wine is consecrated and changed into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Several years ago, there was a statistic going around that only a third of Catholics believe in the true presence. This stat came from a confusing survey asking people to pick between several confusing theological definitions. It would have been better served as a question on a theology students test. Recent studies have shown that the statistic is closer to 81%. It's still sad that there are 19% of catholics who don't believe what has been described as the "source and the summit" of our faith.

I find a more shocking statistic is that less than half of catholics attend mass on a regular basis. That means there are nearly a third of catholics who DO believe in the real presence but don't come to mass regularly. How can you explain understanding that you will be in the physical presence of Jesus--in the physical presence of GOD and not go there regularly?? At least the 19% who don't get it don't understand what they have. You do!!

So to you catholics out there who have read this far--go to mass this weekend!! Make a habit out of it! Like the angel tells Elijah in our first reading, "Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”


  1. If we truly believe in the True Presence, there should be no question about whether going to Mass is a priority. We should be lining up outside the doors and around the block! To be able to partake of Eucharist is such an intimate and precious moment!

  2. Amen Brother!

    I did a paper in college on the attendance of practicing catholics, and across the US, it was around 32%, and in California (where I live), only 25% of baptized Catholics attend mass. Coupled with your statistic that over 80% of Catholics DO believe in the real presence... no excuse!

    Come on fellow Catholics... Jesus wants to see you this Sunday. :)

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