“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “A Psalm of Life”
An ancient tradition says that Luke was from Syria and a doctor. He was with Paul on his Second Missionary Journey and also with him in Rome. He probably left Rome after Paul’s death going to Greece where he wrote the Gospel that bears his name and its second volume, the Acts of the Apostles. He is said to have painted an icon of Mary.
Today, we celebrate the patronal feast of the Vincentians. St. Vincent de Paul is the patron saint of all charitable works throughout the Catholic world and one of the best known Catholic saints. There is great need for the charitable works done by all the St. Vincent de Paul Societies. So, today let’s pray for their efforts and give something to sustain their good works.
Chapters 24 and 25 of Matthew are often called the “Eschatological discourse.” The last of the 5 such discourses in that gospel. It deals with the coming new age, the events that precede it, and the lifestyle of the disciples during the waiting period. Today’s gospel reading calls for vigilance because the Son of Man’s coming will be like a thief in the night (unexpected). The parable in verses 45-51 is very timely. It is the parable of the faithful and unfaithful slave. The question is: will those in authority faithfully discharge their office or will they abuse others and take advantage of others.
In today’s gospel, we hear of people leaving Jesus because of something He told them that was “too hard” a saying. Today, we face another “hard reality” with the sexual abuse scandal. Some will not return to the Church because of it. Please, I urge you not to turn from Christ’s Church because of these individuals. Christ is present in His Church, in His Body (the Body of Christ). He gives us graces and feeds us with the “Bread of Life.” In the end, Jesus is the Church. His presence is there despite what anyone in the Church does wrong. Don’t turn away like those in today’s gospel. It is at times like these that we must pray. Jesus said that certain demons can only be driven out by “fasting and prayer.” Ultimately, it is He, Jesus Christ, that will have to heal His Church wounded in its members. Jesus speaks to us today through Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments, particularly, His Body and Blood. He will heal us. For only He “has the words of everlasting life.”
This is the octave (8th day) after the Assumption and links this Memorial with that Solemnity. The theological basis for this Memorial is found in the antiphon for the Canticle of Mary for the Solemnity of the Assumption: “Today, the Virgin Mary was taken up to heaven; rejoice, for she reigns with Christ for ever.”
The “Bread of Life” discourse promises that people will attain eternal life by “coming to Jesus” and being in union, communion with Him. Jesus is the Bread of Life that has come down from heaven; is the revelation of God given to the people. The fundamental reaction called for is one of “coming to Him,” which is synonymous with belief in Him. We need to respond with an “Amen.” “So be it.” Amen means we are on solid ground. We give our yes, our consent. It requires an openness on our part. For Jesus is the essential for life; therefore, to refuse this invitation and command of Jesus is to miss life and die. Let us make each and every Eucharist a renewal of our faith, our allegiance in Jesus and His teaching, a renewal of faith in the “bread of Life.”