Today’s Gospel is the link between Jesus’ assertion in last Sunday’s Gospel that “the work of God” is to “believe in the one he sent,” and the radical teaching in next Sunday’s Gospel that Jesus’ “flesh is true food and [his] blood is true drink.” While the image of food was present in last Sunday’s Gospel, the emphasis was more on faith: “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Faith is the ability to receive God’s self-revelation, and the profession and practice of faith are the fruit of God’s grace in us. This is also the focus of the Liturgy of the Word at Mass.
Today’s Gospel is still mostly a call to faith. Jesus’ audience is murmuring not because he speaks of himself as “bread,” but because he says he is “from heaven.” In effect they are saying: “Who does he think he is? We’ve known him all his life. He’s no more from heaven than you or I!”
Jesus invites his critics to open their minds and believe: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.” Eternal life, of course, has been the focus of Jesus’ teaching throughout this chapter of John’s gospel. In last Sunday’s Gospel Jesus said, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life.” He reveals today that he is that food: “I am the bread of life…whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Then comes the astonishing statement: “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” What this means and how it is possible will be addressed in next Sunday’s Gospel.
I am happy to announce that Paul Kosower has taken the position of Director of Sacred Music at Saint Charles. Paul is a professor emeritus of organ at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He is also an accomplished cellist. He has played at Notre Dame here in Chippewa Falls, and at Sacred Heart-Saint Patrick Parish in Eau Claire, among others. He is familiar with Saint Charles Church and our instruments; he has performed here and has worked with some of our organists in the past. He is excited to take on this new position and I look forward to working with him. Please welcome him when you see him. Our retiring director, Jerry Boorsma, is also happy that Paul is taking on the position, which gives him peace of mind that our sacred music program is being left in good hands.
We have some disappointing news at Saint Peter’s School in that Alyssa Dorsey has withdrawn her application as principal and first-and-second-grade teacher for personal reasons. Let us continue to pray that just the right person will step forward. We are happy to welcome Kenley Anstett as our new fifth-and-sixth-grade teacher. She provided a note of introduction in last week’s “Peter’s Patter.”
Last week I reported on cutting some oats for threshing. That went well; but on the following Wednesday we had a storm with a lot of wind, which took most of the shocks down. So, on Thursday my friend Father Kenneth O’Hotto spent a few hours in the afternoon putting them up again. I hope they get dry so I can get the bundles loaded up in a couple of weeks and under cover until Threshing Day on September 6, Labor Day.
Pray the rosary this week for people who no longer attend Mass or receive the sacraments, that they may realize that their deepest hunger can be satisfied not by perishable food, but by the bread of life—Jesus—found only in the Holy Eucharist.
May God bless his people with peace.