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Father Muench Says...

Make an act of faith and encounter Jesus

Sept. 5, 2018

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, let us consider one more time John 6. Let me remind you: the Gospel readings at the Sunday Masses during the month of August this year were all sections taken from the same chapter of St. John’s Gospel – John 6.

So, during August this year, our attention has been directed to understanding John 6, the discourse of the Bread of Life. Jesus tells his apostles he wants to be with his disciples throughout all of time. He promises his presence through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus promises to become our Bread of Life.

This chapter, John 6, closes with a surprise, especially for us who love Jesus. The scriptures tells us that many of Jesus’ disciples would not accept his teaching concerning the Bread of Life. These disciples lost all faith in Jesus. They decide not to walk with him anymore.

Of course, throughout the history of our Catholic Church, there have been many times that people have lost their faith in Jesus and left the Church. They knew a great deal about Jesus. Like those early disciples, they knew of Jesus’ loving concern for people, for all people. They knew of his miracles. They knew of his loving sacrifice for all people. Yet, they rejected Jesus; they rejected his message; they lost faith in his sacraments. As we read John 6, it is time for us to consider our own faith and acceptance of the Lord.

Let me go first. Speaking for myself, I want to take this moment to share with you my own faith in the presence of Jesus in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist – in Holy Communion. I believe that Jesus is present to me always. As I read John 6, I am certain that my faith would have been so much stronger and so much more alive if I had been alive when Jesus walked the face of the earth. Can you imagine hearing the message of Jesus from the person of Jesus? Now I realize that it is important for me to find Jesus now. I need the presence of Jesus now. I believe that I do find Jesus in the wonderful sacrament of the Holy Eucharist each time I celebrate the Mass. I believe my faith is strengthened each time Jesus is present to me at the altar of the Lord. Jesus is present to me now just as he was to the apostles then.

John 6 goes on to tell us that Jesus turned to the twelve apostles and asked them, “Do you also want to leave?” St. Peter speaks for them all: “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” I know that I would have stood with Peter at that moment. This is my act of faith. So, how about you?

I believe that Jesus turns to each one of us, each and every day of your lives. So, have you made your faith in the Lord your own; have you made your act of faith? You see, your faith in the Lord must be your personal decision. Each day you meet many challenges. Challenges are often acts of faith. May you live them well!

Your faith will give you confidence and trust. Your faith will guide you to live well as a disciple of Jesus. When your faith is alive and strong, you will find guidance from the Lord. You will find the happiness and love Jesus puts into our lives. Faith means a strong commitment to the Lord.

I believe that you will all find that faith when you allow Jesus to be present to you in all things. You and I have known the presence of the Lord all our lives. Each time we celebrate Mass the Lord becomes present to us. We never leave Mass the same person who entered. The Eucharistic Lord leaves with us. He is one with us; his presence is real to us. I know I have found wisdom and confidence from the Lord as a priest each time I celebrate Mass. Jesus makes it very clear that he wants to be part of my life. I am different person – a true disciple of the Lord – with Jesus as part of my life.

We make our Christian community strong when we boldly make our own personal decision in the presence of our Lord, Jesus. This is our commitment to the Lord. Why would we even want to leave Jesus who constantly enriches our lives with peace and love and confidence to meet the challenges that life brings. Jesus will be with us to strengthen us.

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