Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the Gospel today, Jesus tells us “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
I have seen many monks, as they prepare to meet the Lord face to face, not only ask for the Blessed Sacrament as food for the journey but also ask the abbot’s permission if they can die. Monks have known obedience throughout their lives, hopefully, and being imitators of Christ, they became obedient even to death! In today’s second reading, St. Paul says to the Ephesians “So be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and handed himself over for us as a sacrificial offering to God for a fragrant aroma.”
When my aunt Olivia was close to death, my mother told me that one of her cousins told her saying that “mom (Aunt Olivia, Lee as we called her) said in an anxious but soft voice, ‘Lord Jesus come and get me, Blessed Mother come and get me, Mom and Pop come and get me, Bern (my grandmother, her sister) pray for me, Adam (my baptismal name) help me!’” I received the great grace of going to see my Aunt Lee one day before she passed away. I had a relic of the true cross with me, I blessed her with it and said to her, “Aunt Lee, you have nothing to worry about, you can go in peace, we will take care of everything you are leaving behind, and the monks are praying for you too.” Maybe hearing that was all that Aunt Lee needed to be at peace with the Lord.
Let me ask you something, do you see Christ Jesus in your spouse, brother, sister, superior, or whomever you answer to? Are you obedient to them? Do they challenge you to be a better person, or do you also need to challenge them to be a better person in Christ? Examine yourself at the end of the day and see if you have been obedient to your significant other and if you have helped them to get one step closer to heaven.
Reflection by Br. Maximilian Burkhart, OSB