Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 9, 2015
JN 6:41-51

Infants and toddlers cry and make a fuss anywhere and at any time. As children grow and develop, they begin to get a little more control over their emotions. Teenagers…well, they are in a class all of their own. But, by the time we are adults, we usually have acquired the social skills and the emotional maturity to express our feelings in an appropriate way and at the proper time. That being said, we never seem to get past the urge to GRUMBLE…MURMUR…COMPLAIN! Whether we “think it,” whisper it to ourselves…under our breath, so to speak, or share our negative and obstinate feelings with others…most of us do it! Maybe it’s one of the consequences of original sin. I suspect that Adam and Eve didn’t leave the Garden silently; if not, maybe as they made their exit from paradise, and certainly by the time they had to work in order to eat!

I wonder if the first parents passed on this all too common human tendency with the other unfortunate things that came along with the original sin. We certainly see examples of this human behavior throughout the Old Testament. Israel spent 40 years wandering in the desert and perfecting the technique which carried over into the New Testament. This week’s Gospel tells us that people who enjoyed the free meal of loaves and fish did not understand Eucharist…and so they GRUMBLED…MURMURED…COMPLAINED.

Do we understand Eucharist? Do we today understand that Eucharist is about God wanting to be an intimate part of us, so that we, in turn, can become more “God-like?” Do we understand that Eucharist is far more than simply a religious ritual? Eucharist is God’s greatest gift to humankind that carries with it God’s greatest challenge to humankind. Eucharistic people are challenged to become what we eat! That means that strengthened by The Lord’s Body and Blood, we are called to go out into the world and show the Face of Christ to all whom we meet.

Eucharistic spirituality includes with it a deep and sincere appreciation for the Communion we share with the Divine and the communion we are called to embrace with the universal family. As the song goes…

“We are called to act with justice.
We are called to love tenderly.
We are called to serve one another, to walk humbly with God.”

The “Gift” part of Eucharist is easy to accept. But sometimes the “call” part…the expectation that comes with the “Gift”…the Divine challenge that is part of sharing in the Divine life….well, sometimes, that part of Eucharist can cause us to GRUMBLE, MURMUR, AND COMPLAIN!

Considering all of this, are you spiritually mature enough to walk up the isle this Sunday to accept the Gift…as well as the challenge? Or might you walk away GRUMBLING…MURMURING OR COMPLAINING?