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Jesus, the Living Bread

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Jesus, the Living Bread A reflection for the 20th Sunday of Ordinary Time by Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF Our readings this Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time remind us that we can live a full life in faith only by taking a humble stance as a creature among creatures before our Creator. The psalmist reminds us that only in humility can we hear the Word of God, "the lowly will hear me." (Ps. 34: 3) Thomas of Celano, one of the first biographers of Saint Francis, wrote that for Francis, God "delights to be with the simple and those rejected by the world." Saint Paul warns us to "watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise" (Eph. 5: 15) creatures well aware of our imperfect creatureliness, while the writer of Proverbs urges us to "forsake foolishness that you may live." (Prv. 9: 5) In the Gospel, St. John recalls the humility of God in the words of the incarnated Jesus who took on the flesh of creatures and gave His "flesh for the life of the world...." (Jn. 6: 51) In her book The Humility of God, Franciscan Theologian Sister Ilia Delio wrote that for Saint Francis "the most profound expression of God's humility...was in the Eucharist and he described this mystery of God's humble presence,.. as the means of relationship to God." As those who partake in the "Living Bread," St. John invites us to allow the Eucharist to challenge us. Because of the Eucharist we cannot be the same person this Sunday as last. God gave His "flesh for the life of the world." As we partake in the Eucharist we are compelled to bring this "Bread of Life" to each encounter we have this week, to each news story we watch, and to each opportunity we have to use our voice in our attempts to right injustice. "If there is hunger anywhere in the world, then our celebration of the Eucharist is somehow incomplete everywhere in the world .... In the Eucharist we receive Christ hungering in the world. He comes to us, not alone, but with the poor, the oppressed, the starving of the earth. Through Him they are looking to us for help, for justice, for love expressed in action. Therefore we cannot properly receive the Bread of Life unless at the same time we give the bread of life to those in need wherever and whoever they may be." - Pedro Arrupe SJ, Servant of God Sr. Maryann Mueller, CSSF FAN Board Member

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1 Shawn Bose = ""Today our prime educational objective must be to form men-and-women-for-others; men and women who will live not for themselves but for God and his Christ—for the God-human who lived and died for all the world; men and women who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors; men and women completely convinced that love of God which does not issue in justice for others is a farce." (Pedro Arrupe: Essential Writings, Kevin Burke, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 2004, p. 173) Read more about Pedro Arrupe here at Ignatian Spirituality."