Saturday, August 1, 2009

Filled Homily

Fr. Michael Denk
St. Barnabas (7:30 am)
Year B, 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 2, 2009


What brings you back every Sunday?

Think about it… why do you come back every Sunday? [I’ll ask the people in the pews and let you know what they say]. I imagine for some people it’s because it’s what they’ve always done, for others it’s to be with their families, for some it’s because their parents made them, or it’s because God commanded us to keep holy the Sabbath and so we go to mass on Sunday. For some it’s because they couldn’t survive the week without it. What is your reason? The crowd, who had been fed by Jesus in the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, came to Capernaum looking for Jesus and when they found him He said to them: “Amen, amen, I say to you, you are looking for me not because you saw signsbut because you ate the loaves and were filled.” They came back not because they had to, not because they saw signs or miracles, not to be with their families, not because God had commanded them to, but because when he multiplied those loaves and fed them something happened. They were filled. They came back looking for him because they found fulfillment.

I’m often saddened when people tell me they left the church. Often times they will say they left the church because they weren’t fed. And I think to myself: What did they miss? How could they not have been fed? Every Sunday in the mass Jesus feeds us with His Word in the scriptures and with His Body and Blood in the Eucharist. How were they not fed? I wonder if they ever really got it, if they ever really knew him, if they ever understood what really takes place here, if they ever moved beyond the law to its fulfillment.

So why come back? Maybe your reason is one of the above: maybe you come because your parents make you, or you come because God commands it, or maybe you’re afraid of going to go to hell if you don’t. These actually aren’t bad reasons for coming. As a matter of fact they can be good motivators for someone that doesn’t quite get it. But the law is only for those who haven’t really come to know the Lord and understand the miracle of the loaves.

At every single mass, no matter where, no matter who the priest is, no matter how the music is, no matter what you think of the church or the people in it – we are fed. Anyone who leaves a mass and says I wasn’t fed must have completely missed this. He does feed us in a very real way. If we walk out of here getting nothing out of it then maybe we are missing something, maybe it’s not the church to blame, or the priest, or the music, or the church, maybe it’s our own lack of faith.

Hopefully we will all come to that point in our faith where we will return every Sunday, not simply because of the commandment or because of guilt, but because you have been fed and you have been filled. If you’re not experiencing this then it may be a time to ask yourself: is this faith real for me? What am I missing? Why am I not filled by this? Do I know enough about my faith? Am I really living out my faith? And then ask God to feed you, ask him to help you to believe and to experience the fulfillment that can only come from the Eucharist.

I hope and I pray that you come back here every Sunday hoping to be fed and walking away filled and fulfilled.

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