St. John Fisher Roman Catholic Church

30 Jones Hollow Road, Marlborough, CT 06447

No matter how often I weed my garden, within hours more show up. It’s always been a mystery to me. I see no seeds; I certainly didn’t plant them. How did they get there? I would like to claim “an enemy has done this”. But it happens every year and in every place I have had gardens. Is my enemy a stalker?

Most often when this parable is used for reflection on a retreat or a day of reflection, we are the hearers of the parable and are asked: “How receptive to the word of God are you? Into which category do you place yourself?”

It has been said that the prophet’s call is to comfort the afflicted and to afflict the comfortable. Of course, one group will be overwhelmingly happy and the other - not so much.

the prophet jeremiah 1512It was understandable that Jeremiah didn’t want to be a prophet. He knew it was a difficult vocation. So when he called, he claimed that he was too young. God answered that he was called to be a prophet even in the womb. Can’t get any younger than that! Several times he complained to God about his lot, even to wishing he had never been born, calling down a curse on the man who announced to his father that he had a son. Apparently he abandoned his calling for a time but God was insistent. He also had to watch as one of the kings read his words and then burn them page by page, the ultimate insult. He was thrown into a cistern and left to die but was eventually rescued. He foretold the Exile and then encouraged the people in exile to settle down and have families because he would be a long time before they would return to Judah. Finally when Babylon was intent upon destroying Jerusalem, the people forced Jeremiah to flee with them to Egypt whereupon, as rumor has it, they killed him.

With over a billion members in the Catholic Church plus who knows how many in other Christian denominations, it’s hard to believe that those who 1st accepted the Good News of Jesus were thought to be outsiders and therefore a threat in some way.

Today’s Gospel reading comes from the John’s account of the Last Supper. Judas had just left the table companionship to begin the process that would lead to Jesus arrest. Jesus had just said that Peter would deny him three times. But Jesus counsels them not to let their hearts be troubled because he is going to the Father to prepare places for them.

Well, this is a big day, isn’t it? You are going to receive Jesus in a special way today. Now, let us look at each letter of the word “bread” because it can help us remember some important things about this sacrament. B stands for believe. We believe that the host becomes the body of Jesus in a mysterious way that has a fancy name attached to it called transubstantiation. Don’t worry! There will not be a quiz afterwards, at least not for you, but maybe for the grownups here. There is a saying, seeing is believing, but in this case believing is seeing because we see through the eyes of faith. R and E go together. Receive the Holy Eucharist every time you come to Mass. And A and D go together as well. They stand for receive the Eucharist always devoutly. That means don’t treat it as normal food. Approach the altar reverently, not as if you are in line for popcorn at a movie. Think about whom you are receiving instead of what you are receiving. Don’t shuffle along, looking bored. Sometimes older people get so used to receiving communion, it becomes a matter of habit; and, they sometimes forget what a great gift God is giving them. Don’t let that happen to you. Let’s review what BREAD stands for: Believe, receive every time, always devoutly. A word of congratulations is due for the parents of these children. You have shepherded them through three sacraments: Baptism, Reconciliation, and now Eucharist. Although Baptism is received only once, it constantly must be renewed and reaffirmed. Reconciliation, a celebration of God’s mercy and the forgiveness of sins, can be received as often as needed, and not just for major sins. Little sins, allowed to pile up, can slow our journey to God. Think of a snowstorm. It’s made up of tiny individual flakes that can slow or even stop traffic when there are enough of them. Eucharist is God’s help for us to strengthen and nourish our faith. Make it a priority to receive it often, if not every week. Coming to be with a faith community is another way we strengthen one another in believing. We really need each other especially in these times when our faith in God is attacked or looked down upon as superstition. And a final word to the children: You have my permission to nag your parents about coming to church.

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