A Message from Fr. Hurley (August 22, 2021)

News August 22, 2021

Peace be with you,

We are back into John’s Gospel this 21st week in Ordinary Time. Like all the Gospels, the revelation of God’s truth contained in each word is an unending store of treasure. This priceless resource of truth has even greater value when it is proclaimed at Mass and other liturgies. This is part of the message today from the Lord’s revelation in John’s Gospel.

“Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, ‘This saying is hard, who can accept it?’… As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.” John 6:60, 67. These folks walked away from the Lord. These folks were not some casual observers, they were his followers, his disciples. These were dedicated folks who were so committed to the Lord Jesus that they walked away from their jobs and work in order to follow Him. And now today’s Gospel passage shows them leaving Him and going back to their homes and previous work. What happened?

These disciples found the Word made flesh too much to handle. They could not believe what he was saying. The Word of God is not simply some sort of descriptive narration of events or reality. The Word of God is creative and makes real what is spoken… by God, by Christ. Remember in Genesis God spoke and the world came to be. God said, let there be light and there was light. God’s Word and the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, make, create being. When the Word made flesh speaks, he is not reciting or dictating some descriptive narration on a page that is subsequently read by others.

This is why today’s Gospel reveals Christs Words as more than something you read on a page. He says, “It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” Jn 6; 63. His words are Spirit and life. The Lord speaks at each Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, “This is my body.” It is His Body! Additionally, when the Gospel is proclaimed by an ordained, it is His Word… He is the one speaking.

This should cause a whole hearted attention by those gathered. This is the Lord Himself who speaks and whose Word is creative at that moment. Are we attentive or preoccupied, busy with some book or device?

At those moments during Mass when His Word is proclaimed we should realize the creator, the creative force that spoke and the world came to be. is in action. There should be nothing more important than a posture of attentiveness to that Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. There are no books or missals or devices that compare. One last point is that His Word does not require you to understand each word he speaks or each grammatical articulation you may rely on for a reading comprehension exercise. His Word is none of that. “The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.” Jn 6: 63.

It is important to note that this is why those disciples departed from Him. They wanted it to make sense and be intelligible according their understanding. It all reminds me of the current situation where so many have departed from the Church. It is alarming to think that across the U.S. Catholic population, 70% of communicants do not believe they are receiving the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord. They do not believe the Word made flesh? Is it too hard to believe? Sounds familiar. Oh, that is the Gospel for this 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time.

We are blessed beyond belief to know His Word, the Word made flesh.

Peace,

Fr. Hurley