From the Desk
of Fr. Tony...
Fr. Tony Stubeda
Father Tony Stubeda
Take and Eat
My Grandma Stubeda was not particularly health conscious, so I am not sure why she decided to get her grandchildren to believe that ground turkey was hamburger, but she did. She was an excellent cook, and so one day when we sat down to lunch with hamburgers we were expecting them to taste a certain way. As soon as we took a first bite we knew that something had changed, and it was not for the better. These were not the usually juicy, tasty hamburgers we were expecting. They were a little dry, tasted odd and were the wrong color. We all abruptly refused to take another bite. There was definitely something wrong and we were not buying my grandmaís explanation. In the end she confessed and explained the subterfuge, but we closely examined any suspicious looking food pretty carefully for a while after that fiasco.
As we enter our fourth week of Jesusí Bread of Life Discourse from Johnís Gospel, we are reaching the breaking point for many of the people following and listening to Jesus. His declaration that he will give his flesh for their food and blood for their drink seems repugnant to them. They see no possible way for this to be the path to eternal life. They are becoming uneasy with his invitation to a new way of understanding, and his Eucharistic invitation makes no sense to them. They push back with skepticism and doubt, and they want Jesus to clarify what he means. They demand that he soften his way of speaking or modify what he is asking. They have not been able to abandon themselves to the idea that seems so clear to us as an invitation to the Eucharist we celebrate so often. In their defense what seems so obvious to us, is still a brave new world to them. Jesusí self-giving on the cross for the salvation of the world is still in the future, and this groundwork for Jesusí continued saving action through the sacrament of the Eucharist is just beginning to take shape. The promise of eternal life through communion with the Lord seems wonderful, but they are not able even to begin to comprehend the gift being offered. They are very much like my suspicious grade school self, who sniffed at turkey burgers wondering what someone is trying to trick me into. Once again Jesus extends his invitation to the wonders of the Eucharist, and we are left to answer the question.
We celebrate the Eucharist so often that it is easy to forget the wonder of it. Jesus, the Bread of Life, gives himself completely to us and for our salvation. We are invited to consume his body, blood, soul and divinity and in doing so we are consumed by the wonder and power of God.