Homily: Father Mike Kuse
Blessed Sacrament Parish
August 5, 2012 - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
10 A.M. Service
One thing that all of us have in common that we can identify with in both the Old Testament and New Testament readings is that we are always complaining. We complain about everything. You know if we had a little thing put on us that takes in all that we say in one day we probably would say, “Oh, I don't think I said that.” But everyone around us would say, “Yes, you did. And a whole lot more and we're tired of it.”
And you can see the frustration of Jesus. It's like, “What is it going to take? You guys just don't get it.”
When the people in the Old Testament were fed, they were fed with ordinary bread, and with quail. Jesus is trying to tell them, even at that time, “the bread came from my Father.” But then Jesus takes that big leap and he says, “Now you are still being fed except you need to know - I am God. And I am the only one who can really feed you, and you will be satisfied.”
Have you ever had the experience, as we get older we forget these things but if you have kids around the house you remember - you can fix a delicious meal and a half-hour later the kids ask, “Is there anything to eat in the house?”
“Well, you just ate.”
“I know, but it didn't last very long. I want something else to eat.”
Even as adults we can sit there, and if food is there we can nibble all day long. And Jesus says, “As much as you want all this perishable food, I am the one who can give you something that will satisfy your hunger and your thirst.”
The obvious question for us is, “OK, God. I get that. But how do I experience that? How do I realize that the perishable things are just not enough?”
You may have seen on the news some time ago a gentleman who enters all the eating contests. This year he set a new record and he ate 62 hot dogs in so many minutes. He enters all the eating contests. He's won the record on buffalo wings, on pizza, on everything. But it never satisfies him. He doesn't quite get the message.
But when you and I realize that when we receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ, and think about it, how that wafer and that sip of wine will get you fulfillment and bring you happiness for as long as you need - that's powerful.
We don't sit up here and serve the Eucharist like popcorn and potato chips, and we don't have a machine that gives you different flavors of wine, we simply say, “This is what you need, and this will satisfy you. God will always make us aware that there is more from where that came from.”
On one of our first trips to Haiti it was an interesting week. We stayed at a hotel and they served us food. We were all amazed that when they served the food they brought out platters of lobster. You can't afford it back here, and they were bringing out platters of it. As we ate one platter, they brought out another platter simply because that was their ordinary food. They had all the lobster they could want. And at market place it was nothing.
But you know it wasn't the lobster that invited us to continue to connect with those people. It was when we shared the Eucharist with them when everything came together. So if we have a contest this afternoon for eating hot dogs and all of you break the record eating more than 62 hotdogs in so many minutes, you may go home with stomach cramps and then you're going to ask yourself, “Why did I do that?”
But when you and I come here for Eucharist and we leave this assembly - we are going to go out this week and go to places where we work, we are going to go into stores, we are going to gather with family and friends, the kids are getting excited that school is going to begin before long, and all of this is taking place and we are all going to see God in so many different ways - and it's just God hitting us in the back of the head.
Where do you think this came from? Who do you think gave you this? And it all goes back to that one phrase when Jesus says, “I am the Bread of Life. I am the chalice of blessing. I Am. You don't need to go any further, and no one can give you what I can give you.”
This morning as we come forward to receive the Eucharist, or for those who come forward and receive the blessing, we have to remember it's not me, or the communion minister, giving you the Bread of Life - the Bread of Life comes from God. If we lose that, then the most important thing in our lives is how many hot dogs we can eat, and how many pizzas we can eat, and how many cokes we can down, and how many pieces of chicken we can eat - because we simply don't get the message.
Jesus says, “Just remember.” That's all you need to know.