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19th Sunday of Year B – 2021

Just imagine for a moment a man standing before a group of people.
Most of them know him, they know his mother, of course, and where he comes from.
He is dressed as they are, he speaks as they do, but… what he says has never been heard before.

He says that he descended from heaven.
He even claims that he can give some food that will enable people to live eternally.
He repeats with conviction that those eating this food will never die.
And he concludes proclaiming that he, himself, is that food.

How do you think people would react?
Voices would rise to jeer, to ridicule, to condemn such claims:

“Who does he think he is?”
“He’s talking nonsense!”
“He’s out of his mind!”
”Eating the flesh of a man, who would do that?”

This is more or less a reproduction of what the scene in today’s gospel offers us (Jn.6:41-51).
The vocabulary may have changed somehow but the reactions of the listeners are very similar:
that kind of speech is just too much of them.
Who could put faith in such extravagant language?
Who would dream of following the Man of Nazareth?

“Heaven… the Father… rise on the last day… eternal life… bread of life… bread that is flesh!”

Could it be that all these words have been part of our religious language for so long that we no longer question their meaning.
In no way do they make us feel uncomfortable…

Do they touch us really?
Do they still question us?
Do they reach us in the depths of our being?
Do we allow them to challenge our faith?
Do they inspire our commitment to that Man, Jesus?

If not, that chapter of John’s gospel is just another… printed text…
We will hear it another time, at another place, perhaps… all the time remaining the same ourselves…
While Jesus is waiting for us… just waiting…

 

Note: Another reflection is available on a different theme in French at: https://image-i-nations.com/19e-dimanche-de-lannee-b-2021/

 

Source: Images: Presentation Guru   churchofjesuschrist.org

19th Sunday of Year B

There is… dreaming and dreaming!
When we are asleep, our unconscious has its own ways to bring to our slumber pictures and scenes that come unbidden.
But many of us also practise the art of… daydreaming and it is quite interesting what can come out of it!

A fertile imagination can place before us wonderful situations that we could only dream of.
While indulging into fancying successful activities, rewarding expeditions, and fascinating adventures of all kinds, most of us remain aware that it is purely that: fancying, imagining…

But, what if our wildest dreams turned out to become realities?
What if these things we hardly dare to picture were suddenly becoming REAL?

These thoughts came to me as I read the gospel of this Sunday (19th Sunday of Year B – John 6:41-51).
In that text, we hear Jesus speak astonishing words.

He says: “Everybody who believes has eternal life.”

Notice the verb is NOT in the future tense but the present.
Jesus is not promising something that will happen only later, only when certain conditions will have been met.
We want go on living, we dream of remaining alive, enjoying life… without end.

And, amazingly, Jesus assures us that this happy situation is… already ours!
What he proclaims is not something that belongs to daydreaming or fancying.
It is not wishful thinking, it is REAL, here and now.

Reading this, many will shrug their shoulders saying: ‘How can we be sure of this?’
Of course, it is a reality that we cannot see or touch.
We cannot assert its truth with our human ways of ‘proving’ things.

The only way we can be… ‘sure’ of it is by trusting the one who said so – there is no other way!
But it is a ‘sure’ way indeed.

Note: Another reflection is available in French on a different theme at: https://image-i-nations.com/19e-dimanche-de-lannee-b/

Source : Image : Gostica.com

32nd Sunday of the Year, C

the-catholic-catalogue”I promise you, I will…” A promise – we may be the one speaking the words. Or, someone else may be assuring us that he will do something for us, she will carry out something on our behalf. If the person speaking is trustworthy, we can hope that we will get what is promised. If he or she is reliable, we may expect that we will obtain whatever we have been told would be done or given.

What if the promise is given by… God? Yes, God makes promises, amazing promises, wonderful promises – so wonderful that we may think that… it is too good to be true. On the other hand, a promise made by God not being fulfilled is… unthinkable!

The 1st reading of this Sunday (32nd, Year C: 2 Maccabees 7:1-2,9-14) shows us people who have been “relying on God’s promise,” and this to the point of waging their life on it! The book of Maccabees tells the story of seven brothers (we meet four of them in this text ) who are faithful to God to the point of death because they are absolutely convinced that they will live again.

Yes, in this text of the Old Testament we see appearing this extraordinary belief in an afterlife. The second brother says it clearly: “The King of this world will raise us up… to live again for ever.” The words of his brother, the fourth one to speak, proclaim the same faith: “Ours is the better choice, to meet death at men’s hands, yet relying on God’s promise that we shall be raised up by him.”

 We could say that this Sunday presents us with… a matter of life and death – a serious matter if ever there was one! And the promise of God is reaffirmed by Jesus himself when challenged by the Sadducees (gospel reading Lk.20:27-38): “God is the God of the living; for the him all men are in fact alive.”

 Are we, alive? Really so? And are we convinced that we can be alive beyond death, if only we rely on God’s promise? It is, indeed, a matter of life and death!

Source: Image: The Catholic Catalogue