"Breaking Open the Word" :
James Cavanagh is the director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. His weekly column, "Breaking Open the Word," is syndicated by the Denver Catholic Register, official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Denver. Click here to visit the Office of Evangelization & Catechesis for the Archdiocese of Denver.
July 31: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
• Isaiah 55:1-3
The Eucharist, prefigured by this miracle, is a participation in the messianic banquet inaugurated by Christ. In the second reading Paul encourages us in midst of life’s hardships saying that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This passage concludes Paul’s teaching about man’s bondage to sin, which Christ conquered. During our earthly pilgrimage we are in spiritual exile, which so often involves sorrow and distress. But the worst kind of suffering is to be alienated from God because of sin.
Key verse: “I will renew with you the everlasting covenant” (Is 55:3).
Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Sacraments are ‘powers that comes forth’ from the Body of Christ, which is ever-living and life-giving. They are actions of the Holy Spirit at work in his Body, the Church. They are ‘the masterworks of God’ in the new and everlasting covenant” (No. 1116).
Pope Benedict XVI: “Christ came to gather together the scattered People of God (cf. Jn 11:52) and clearly manifested his intention to gather together the community of the covenant, in order to bring to fulfillment the promises made by God to the fathers of old. Every Eucharistic celebration sacramentally accomplishes the eschatological gathering of the People of God” (“Sacramentum Caritatis,” 31).
Life application: We live in a highly secularized society that can sometimes be a pretty desolate and decadent place. And yet in the midst of such spiritual desolation, the Lord feeds us with supernatural food every time we attend Mass. Though we are in the world, we are not of the world. In the Eucharist, “the source and summit of the Christian life,” the Lord gives us a foretaste of the heavenly banquet, which sustains us in our earthly pilgrimage.
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. Cavanagh’s column is distributed by the Denver Catholic Register.
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