A Taste of the Kingdom

Sunday’s Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ offers us a third great feast as we move forward after our Easter season and return to Ordinary Time. It is one more mystery that offers us a glimpse, a taste of the fullness of life in God, the “Kingdom of God.”

This foretaste was known by Abraham, our father in faith, as he received a heavenly food and blessing from the priest, Melchizedek, himself of mysterious origin.

This foretaste was known by the crowd who gathered to hear and be healed by Jesus. Jesus knows their needs are common, and at the end of the day, quite ordinary: they need to be fed. Even the disciples realize this need. But this is not something only Jesus can respond to. Jesus invites his friends to do what they have seen him do: to give of themselves, to be in relationship with the individuals who compose the crowd. And they do. They give their meager stash of loaves and fish entirely to Jesus. Jesus blesses their gift, acknowledging his relationship with his Father and theirs. He breaks what has been given, for a gift once given does not remain the same. And he gives it back to the disciples so that they may participate with him in the work of meeting people’s common, ordinary needs. We are told that the crowd of thousands “ate and were satisfied.”

This foretaste of the fullness of life with God is what all of us know whenever we gather to remember Jesus’ self-gift at the Eucharist. In today’s second reading, Paul reminds the Corinthians and us that Jesus gives us a meal that continues to satisfy. Jesus’ very life becomes our life. It provides nourishment and strengthens us so that we can continue responding to the needs of individuals and crowds. In our whole-hearted giving of ourselves, as we grow in our relationship with God and others, we live the mystery and live into the fullness of life with God. We find Christ present – really preset – in our relationship with those who need to be fed, at food pantries or meals programs. We find Christ present whenever we gather as a family of faith at the Eucharistic meal. And we find Christ present in the ordinariness of our lives lived in faith.

–Sister Mary Flick

Pentecost – Spirit Filled Lives

We celebrate Pentecost each year as an invitation to all of us to lead spirit-filled lives.

This season is particularly important for those in vocational discernment. First of all, openness to the movements of God in our lives is central to the process. We pray for an outpouring of the Spirit of wisdom, understanding and courage. God created us in a loving design and wishes for us to be happy, holy and fulfilled. Religious life is one of the places to reach this goal, though there are other wonderful vocational choices in life.

Another reason why Pentecost is important in vocation discernment is that it comes at a time when many young people are coming to the end of the academic year, and some are graduating. Often this comes with the question: what next? Some will go to another level of school, some to a job, some to a volunteer year…. and some will look more seriously at religious life. I myself discerned my religious vocation at the end of college. It has been a wonderful, challenging and grace-filled path for me.

So blessings on all those seeking God and discerning their vocation in this season of Pentecost.