16 Aug 2015
20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B
From the moment we wake up, we have choices to make. You know: What should I have for breakfast, what should I wear today. We listen to our political leaders and we choose who to listen to and who to vote for. Every one of you made the decision to come to Mass and worship God today. Other people chose not to. And, even right there, we have the choice to judge them or not.
Among other things, life is a string of choices—some small, some big, some rather mundane, and some rather important. Perhaps the biggest choice we have as Catholics is how to respond to the Eucharist. Jesus proposes something to us: “My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.” And he waits for our response. Every time we come up to Communion, that little Host is put in front of us—as a gift and sign of God’s sacrificial love for us, yes, it is that. But even before that, that little Host and that golden Cup present us with a choice.
“To believe or not to believe,” that is the choice. There is no in-between answer. The bread is the real Flesh of Jesus and the wine is the real Blood of Jesus, or they aren’t. Jesus is a liar, or he isn’t. He doesn’t speak half-truths. Jesus is divine Wisdom made flesh, or he’s just a clever man. How we choose to respond to the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ affects how we respond to Jesus as our Lord, as the source of Wisdom and Truth, as the Bridegroom of us all who spares nothing for the good of the Church, for our good.
Saying “Amen,” I choose to believe in the Body and Blood of Christ—regardless of what human wisdom and senses tell me—saying “Amen,” I choose to believe Christ, means saying “Amen” to a new way of life. When we come up to Communion and say, “Amen,” that means: I choose to make my decisions in life with God’s help, with God’s wisdom. “Amen,“ I choose the way of life, and truth, and fruitfulness. “Amen,” I choose to believe that Jesus is entirely trustworthy.
The psalm encourages us to “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” Even if your faith is just the size of a tiny mustard seed, that’s enough—that’s enough to say, “Amen, I believe.” It’s enough to begin to taste and then see the goodness of the Lord affect our lives. And the more faith we choose to give the Eucharist as the Body and Blood of Christ, the more we can choose to believe that Jesus can do anything for us, with us, and through us. If he can change bread into Flesh and wine into Blood, what else can he do? What else can he do?
When we get up in the morning and choose to believe Christ and choose to believe in the Flesh-and-Blood reality of his Eucharist, we’ll see just what else he can do. But, first, we have to make a choice. “To believe or not to believe,” that is the choice.