August 2, 2015
The 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Dear Parish Family,
Buddha did not claim that he was God. Abraham — the patriarch of not only the Jewish faith, but of Christian and Muslim as well — did not claim to be any other than fully human. Moses claimed only to be a prophet and to speak with the Lord. Mohammed made a similar claim as Moses and certainly did not identify himself as Allah. Never did Zoroaster claim to be Ahura Mazda. Jesus alone makes the claim that He is God made flesh for our salvation.
Christ was fully human and fully divine. We should never lose sight of this reality. There are those who will make the claim that Jesus never said He was God. This is simply wrong. He did, indeed, make such a claim, both in word and deed. When the high priest asked Jesus directly if He was the Christ, the Son of God, Our Lord responded, “I am.” His words to Martha after the death of her brother Lazarus also that He is fully aware of His divine nature as do His words to the Samaritan woman at the well when He identifies Himself as the Living Water come down from heaven.
In today’s Gospel reading, Christ tells us that He is “the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” We receive the Bread of Life — Christ Himself — when we receive the Eucharist. Christ’s flesh is real food; Christ’s blood is real drink; what we receive at the Eucharist is really and truly the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, the Son of God.
There is no other religion in which the high priest can make a reasonable claim to be God Himself. Christ alone makes this claim and Christ alone should be believed. Thousands of years of Hebrew history anticipate His coming, and two thousand years since show the reasonableness of His claim: Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God. He became man for our salvation. When we receive the Holy Eucharist we are receiving His flesh and His blood and entering into communion with Him. When we receive the Bread of Life, we participate in a great movement toward salvation initiated by God Himself, without Whom we have no hope of eternal life.