11. Jul, 2019

Seventeenth Sunday, C

We cannot live without the Eucharist

Ask and it will be given to you. Did you notice that Jesus suggests we pray for staples such as bread, fish and eggs? We need these kinds of things to keep us alive, not Nintendo games or luxury items or ‘status’ symbols. Then he adds that our heavenly Father will give his children, as earthly parents give their children, the best he can for them, for us. The twist for some is that the Father gives spiritual gifts, not earthly staples. Without a flourishing spiritual life we will not survive.

And the Lord teaches us to pray for this; to pray for the coming of God’s kingdom, for bodily nourishment and also spiritual nourishment through receiving the Eucharist. Also, we understand the importance of the sacrament of penance that allows us to be reconciled with God and one another. We need to receive forgiveness to be able to extend forgiveness to others.

We are so lucky. We have all we need and perhaps don’t appreciate the gifts God gives us. I heard this homily given by an American priest last month about whether the Mass might become illegal in North America. He went on to talk about the times when the Mass was made illegal, first during the religious persecution of Henry VIII and then at the time of the martyrs of Abitinae.

In 303 the Roman Emperor made attending Mass a capital crime in Abitinae and other places of North Africa, just like Henry the VIII did in England. However, a group of 46 believers refused to stop meeting and partaking of the Eucharist. They freely admitted to their persecutors that they would not stop celebrating the Lord's Supper. Their life would mean nothing to them if they could not have Christ in the Eucharist so they willingly gave up their lives.

From this group we get the Latin expression "non possumus." In the face of death their answer to Diocletian’s representative was “We cannot live without meeting on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist.” And so they died.

"Non possumus." We cannot live without the Eucharist. How these martyrs would have done anything to be living in our times, in our town. Doesn’t their love for the Lord put us this community to shame for our lukewarmness and hardness of heart we show towards Jesus who gave his life to come to us in the Eucharist?

We cannot live without the Eucharist. Father give us today our daily bread but first forgive us our apostasy; our Catholic community has become a remnant because of a lack of love for your Son, Jesus. Forgive us our lack of love, forgive us our sins. Sweet Jesus, intercede for us that we may amend our way of life for it is not possible to live without you.

Link to Fr. Joseph Illo's Homily 6/23/2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3X28fxpavw