It is interesting to note that in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St. John (the discourse on the bread of life) those who Jesus is preaching to are looking for answers; answers to their state in life, answers to what is in their future, answers about God. But when they are given the answer they are shocked, disappointed – they murmur. They are rejecting outright the words of the man that they have followed – the man they saw perform miracles – the man who, up until this discourse, they were ready to proclaim king. Their hearts were not ready for the message of eternal happiness. It seems that the message they were expecting needed to fit into their preconceived idea of what it was to be; and since it wasn’t, they were scandalized.
From that day forward, until now, the gospel message has been met with doubt, rejection, ridicule because it doesn’t fit the paradigms of the societies that it was proclaimed in. It isn’t a timely and trendy message that reinforces people’s opinion of themselves. And this is due, in part, to the lack of proclaimers, lack of true witnesses to the light of God’s message.
Today we finish up the celebration of our Patron – St. Dominic. A man who in the 13th century went about Southern France, parts of Italy and Spain witnessing to the Gospel. He went through regions where the paradigms of the people were, at best indifferent to the Gospel and at worst, heretical. He called to conversion of heart those he met – and he was successful. He is a model for us – in this anti-Gospel time – a role model on how to preach with our lives and words. A role-model on how to live a Eucharist centered life; how to take nourishment from our God to strengthen us in the mission of proclaiming the truth. For indeed, the ability to proclaim the Gospel is dependent on the strength given us from the Eucharist – because they are the one and the same. Christ is the Word and Christ is the Eucharist. Jesus is the Truth and our nourishment. However, how we use this strength given to us determines our witness – do we allow Christ to nourish and lead us or do we receive the Eucharist to let it waste away in the darkness of hearts not ready to proclaim the Gospel.
Today’s Prayer after Communion is very appropriate for us today, and every day for that matter.
May the communion in your Sacrament
that we have consumed, save us, O Lord,
and confirm us in the light of your truth.