This Week’s Message from Father Dave…
The saga continues in John, Chapter six, the Bread of Life Discourse. We learn that Jesus offers himself as body and blood to be consumed for the life of the world. He makes it a point to emphasize that what he offers will allow those who consume it, shall live forever. What a great gift! At the heart of Jesus’ words is the power of the Eucharist. We reflect on John’s words about Jesus as the Bread of Life because he is only known for giving of himself. What he gives is an offering for the world to receive and to become more like Christ himself.
This is the intimate moment where we become, “in Christ.” We take him in because he is freely and generously giving what he has to offer us. What we receive is his entire life, passion, death, and resurrection. This is a participation in the Lord that calls us to a greater hope and joy. For me it is difficult to place into words just exactly what Eucharist means. As the years pass by, Eucharist means the world and heaven to me. I can bring my greatest joys and the most difficult frustrations , the most cherished experiences along with the most trying times of life, and I find contentment in the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
When we take in the body and blood of Christ the stakes are raised for us. Can we become what we consume? If through the Eucharist we are “in Christ” can we live like him? We will all fall short in some ways. However, that should not stop us from pursuing the possibility of seeking Christ and living like him. Never once did Jesus say that to follow him would be an easy task. On the contrary, he kept saying to follow him requires to deny oneself and to take up the cross. This is what Eucharist feeds at its deepest level, the ability to deny ourselves and to embrace whatever cross comes our way.
The ritual of liturgy is powerful if you let it be that way. If our personal prayer life is strong the Eucharist takes on more meaning to us. If we can consciously bring our best self and our worst self to the foot of the altar and offer that along with the sacrifice of Christ the power of conversion is a great possibility. This dynamic is strong when we realize that one at the same time Christ offers himself and we are called to offer ourselves back to him. We are lucky when you think that through our prayer and worship in Eucharist that this offering makes all difference in the world. In a very strong way, Eucharist shapes the person we can become! Never stop praying or worshiping at this great banquet!
Monday our Cancer Support Group will meet at 7PM in the Gathering Area. What a great group of people who are trying to help each other out by their personal stories of dealing with cancer. I have found this time to be edifying and those in the group have shared how faith and family have helped them cope with this terrible disease. If you want to join us and have not been to a meeting please come and see what it is like. If you want, bring a friend for support.
On Monday, August 27th in the Gathering Area we will have our first installment of the Four Seasons Book Club. The book we have chosen is Ronald Rolheiser’s new publication, “Wrestling With God.” He gives some insightful comments on how we can grow spiritually in our complex world. We start at 7PM and we meet in the Gathering Area.
The Lake-Geauga District is hosting a Minister’s Conference on Saturday, September 29th at St. Gabriel’s from 8AM-1:30PM. Our keynote speaker is Bishop Nelson Perez. Those who are currently involved in a ministry here at Divine Word can attend. The parish will pick up the cost and registration forms will soon be made available. If you have any questions please call me at the parish office.
The Parish Life Group is hosting a night at MCellers Winery in Madison, Ohio on Friday, September 7th from 6PM-9PM . We have been there several times in the past few years. It is an enjoyable evening of wine, food, and fellowship. Tickets can be purchased at the parish office or after Masses on the weekend. Hope to see you there.
With the days of August quickly marching by schools are once again open and many are making the transition back to their studies. I pray for all the administrators, teachers, and students who adjust to this time of year and for their time of study and service. Those who are joining the ranks of high school and college have much ahead of them. It also marks the beginning of our parish programs that will start soon. August always is a hinge month that lets us know we have more ahead of us. In the meantime, we try to maintain the perspective that keeps us focused on the important things in life. Make the time you need to nourish the soul with prayer and worship!