The teachings of Jesus are hard. This was very true for his teaching on the Eucharist. But it isn’t the only teaching that can be challenging. It is what Jesus calls each of us to – the response he wants from us to the Eucharist and especially his call to love one another even our enemies, to care for the poor, to forgive and not judge – the call to humility. This week we also celebrate one of our great Marian feasts with the Assumption of Mary. It reminds of of our Blessed Mother’s response to God – her total and complete “YES” even to that which she did not understand.
As Vincentians, the Blessed Mother as our patroness provides us the perfect example of the response we are called to by God. She listens for his will always putting God and others before herself. She seeks to glorify Him by embracing all that he gives her – even though it brings great pain and suffering to her. She is humility personified in all she says and does. We too are called to discern and listen for God’s will for us. We are called to walk humbly embracing those who he sends before us on total love. Do I listen for God’s will accepting it with zeal and passion? Do I turn my life over to Him, taking all things into my heart, that He might do with me as He will?
Lord Jesus, grant me the listening ear and heart of Mary that I might quiet myself and discern only your will for me and those whom you bring before me. Allow me to act in complete humility, submitting always to your will first. Let me never lose my thirst for your nourishment in the Eucharist that I may be forever fed by your love, compassion and mercy. We pray all of this in your name. Amen
“Do not work for food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life…Sir, give us this bread always.” The people have gone searching for Jesus after the miracle of the feeding of the 5000 we heard last week. They are looking for more food, but they get much more offered to them. They are given nourishment which lasts forever. We are partakers in this eternal nourishment – the Eucharist! How do we receive it? By believing in Him. But as Paul reminds us in his letter, by coming to believe in Christ, we also are called to live in Christ and be Christ in all things.
As Vincentians, it is essential that we partake in the Eucharist with great frequency so as to be properly nourished and fed for our particular mission of charity and ministry to the poor. For it is the Eucharist and Christ Jesus which is the source of all we do. We should give of ourselves for others as Christ gave of himself for us. We should act with the passion Jesus had for us. And we should walk humbly recognizing that it is only by the grace of God we are able to help others. Do I seek the Eucharist with desire and reverence? Am I transformed by the Eucharist that I might help others? Do I recognize the presence of God in all my actions?
Lord Jesus, feed me with your bread from heaven. Let me be nourished and driven to action by it. Allow me to be sustained in my efforts that I may have the passion for the poor that you had yourself. Grace me in humility, as I carry out your mission for me and for others. We pray all of this in your name. Amen
This week we hear the beginning of John’s Bread of Life discourse. It starts with the miracle story of the feeding of the five thousand. It points to the fact that it is God himself who cares for all of our needs. He goes to whatever length necessary – even the sacrifice of His own son – to give us what we need. And through Jesus, he provides us life giving nourishment.
As Vincentians, we not only provide food to those who are in need, but we also provide for whatever needs they might have. We are reminded through these readings though, that we are not the source of their care. We are the vehicle through whom God works. We need to continually discern his will for those we minister to as well as ourselves. And we need to humbly recognize that we can do nothing without his help and inspiration. Do I seek God’s will in all decisions? Do I recognize God as the source of all that I do?
Lord Jesus, grant me the humility to recognize that with you, all things are possible and that without you, I can do nothing. Help me to always discern your will for those I minister to. Use me in serving those in need, to be an instrument of your care for them. We pray all of this in your name. Amen
This week’s readings make it very easy to focus on Jesus as the good shepherd being moved with pity to care for his flock. Indeed, that is a central part of the message. But look closely at the beginning of the gospel. “The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest awhile.” He is teaching them the importance of accountability as well as the need to rest with one another – friendship.
As Vincentians, this is an essential part of who we are. WE come together at our conference meetings every other week to report on our activities and to discern what we have learned from our encounters with those in need. Most importantly, we come together in friendship, sharing with one another in the spirit of Jesus with his apostles. This essential element of friendship is an important part of our growth in holiness. Do I seek friendship with my fellow Vincentians? Do I rejoice with them in their joys and support them in their challenges?
Lord Jesus, instill in us a spirit of friendship. Through patience and kindness, with great humility, let us seek to embrace our fellow Vincentians in brotherly and sisterly love. Let us lift one another up in our shared vocation, that we might always see your presence both in those we serve and in one another. We pray all of this in your name. Amen