Hi everyone, and welcome to Weekly Homilies with Father Mark Suslenko, Pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. We are part of the Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford. I'm Carol Vassar, parish director of communications, and this is Episode 23 of Season 5 for the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ: June 19, 2022. Our Gospel reading is from Luke, Chapter 9, verses 11b-17.
Jesus spoke to the crowds about the kingdom of God, and he healed those who needed to be cured. As the day was drawing to a close, the Twelve approached him and said,
"Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions for we are in a deserted place here.” He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves."
They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we ourselves go and buy food for all these people."
Now the men there numbered about five thousand. Then he said to his disciples, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty.” They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven,
he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied. And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
The Gospel of the Lord
“In the Moment of the Eternal Now” by Father Mark S. Suslenko, Pastor, SS. Isidore and Maria Parish, Glastonbury, Connecticut
If we consider how our lives play out every day, our minds are always occupied and filled with something. In fact, for many of us, our minds race with all that we have to accomplish, all that we want to do, where we want to be, who we need to see, and the list goes on and on and on. There is always something to attend to, and then factor in there our own anxieties, our fears, and our worries, those things that consume us, those things that are concerning to us, and those begin to distract us as well.
And so as we go about the business of our lives, the everyday task of our lives, we often do so very distracted with our minds and hearts elsewhere because we're trying to get through what's in front of us because we need to get to the next thing that's on our list. And it goes on and on and on so that for many of us, at the end of the day, we sit down and we say, "Where did the day go? It went by so fast."
And then we look at the years and the months of our lives, and we say, another season has come and gone and we're here now facing summer. And pretty soon it'll be winter again. And the cycle will go on and on. And then the years begin to fly by. And we look back at a young family that we once had and wonder how they all grew up so fast because now we're facing their marriages and then baptisms. And we find ourselves older.
And as we look at how life plays out in our distracted world, we begin to realize life in its abundance and its profoundness isn't discovered in the years or the weeks or the months, it's really in the moments, in the moments of our lives, that powerful connections happen, but we're often so distracted and elsewhere that all of those moments just kind of run together into the bigger picture of time, and we don't have the opportunity to really celebrate them.
Moments. These are profound moments. I call them "now moments" where we are forced into a closer present, taken out of the past and away from the future and brought to the present. Maybe it's an experience such as the first time you held one of your children; the time that you had to say goodbye to your parent who was dying; a time when you looked your spouse truly in the eye and without words had a profound connection and a bond; a moment when you perhaps were walking and you got caught up in the wonder and awe of creation and you stopped and you were lifted up out of yourself even for a moment to something bigger; a time when you held the hand of a friend who was hurting and you looked into their soul and you met.
These "now moments" are powerful. And they are moments that either involve God directly himself or through another human being, we touch something deeper about life, something greater than just the here and now and what we see and do. These "now moments" really wake us up and perk us up.
But the thing about them is we can only remember them. You can never create them again. That time when you were free enough from your work that you were out in the backyard playing ball with the kids. But then, as time catches on, you look back and you say "In all of the preoccupation, in all the busyness, what did I miss? How many moments did I miss because I was distracted and not present?"
You know, Abram when he was blessed by Melchizedek in today's First Reading I'm sure had a "now moment," because that blessing touched him and changed his life. I'm sure those 5,000 folks who were fed by Jesus had a "now moment" and their lives were forever changed. I'm sure the disciples when they were gathered at the Last Supper had a "now moment" when they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, except perhaps for Judas, who was preoccupied with other things, had another agenda on his mind and missed the profound moment right before him because of his own self-preoccupation. We get to those places ourselves.
And I'm sure the disciples when they were led up to the mountain and Jesus was transfigured before their lives had a "now moment," a moment of powerful connection. You see, God breaks into our lives in those "now moments" because we have to understand something about God. God doesn't live in the time of our lives. His life is not structured like ours with a day and another day and another hour. For God, time is timeless. And so God, when he is present today as much as he was when he first created human beings and is present today as much as he is and will be when the last human being is on the face of this earth.
God's timelessness is where God lives. And so he desperately wants to break into the time of our life to give us these glimpses of a bigger reality, to give us these glimmers of the eternal now that awaits us in heaven. And the way he does this most perfectly and most assuredly, as we can have these moments spontaneously in our lives, but most specifically through the sacraments. Through the sacraments. Because in a sacrament that's where what exists in time, meets the timeless. Think about that for a minute. Stretch your brain. The sacraments is where what exists in time meets the timeless. We meet God, especially in the wonderful gift of the Eucharist that we celebrate today. But, as with any "now moment "in our life, we have to be prepared for it. We have to be open for it. We have to work at being open to the "now moment," away from the anxieties, away from the worries and be now as much as we possibly can to be touched by the moment of now by the God of now who wants to be in our lives now.
Well, then how is God going to break into that? Because we're going to receive what we consider to be just bread and return to our seats, unchanged the way we were before we even came up. We're just participating in this ritual.
But if we look, if we're sitting here today and we look at what happens in the Eucharist, then we say, "No. No. I believe that what happens here is a transformation. That I am receiving the actual body and blood of Christ, soul, and divinity. God himself coming into my world, into my life." Then the door becomes open. But I have to be present in order to do that. I have to be here. I have to have an open mind. I have to have an open soul and an open heart so that when God is present, he can be properly received and we can make room for that presence.
So how we approach the moments of our lives, especially these powerful, spiritual moments, the Eucharistic moments, is going to determine, then, what we bring out of it and what happens to us as a result of it. Our expectations will color the outcome.
And so as you come up to the altar today, once again, to receive the sacred host, do so eager and willing to receive the God of your life within you, be open to receive the divine presence of the one who loves you more than anything else in this world. Have the proper disposition to see beyond what appears to be just bread, to the inner reality of the divine person alive in that bread. And whether you do so in your hand, or on your tongue, do so with the utmost reverence. And then return to your seat, not as the same person, but one now in the moment of God, who has an opportunity to connect in a profound way with the divine presence that is now within you.
And take a few moments when you return to open yourselves to that gift, to that beauty, to that wonder, to that awe, to that visit that God is making within you. And if you lack faith, ask God to give you that faith. If you lack hope, ask God to give you that hope. If you struggle with love, ask God to give you that love and he will enter in and do that for you. But you have to be open. You have to look, you have to listen, and you have to be fully present to him.
You know, it's interesting is we get older, we look in the mirror and we know that we've aged, but there's a wonderful, interesting thing about life. You don't really feel old within. You know, it looks old on the outside, things are falling apart. But inside, there's always a youthfulness. In fact, it's hard to believe that age catches up so quickly. Do you ever wonder why that is? It's because our souls live like God in the eternal now. Because that's what's going to come with us to heaven. You see, and that's all these little glimpses, all these little now moments that we have in life are all foretastes of something more beautiful to come. They're all glimpses of a bigger connection to be had when we're united with our creator and all of our brothers and sisters in the big eternal now that awaits us, and the beauty and wonder of it all.
And the Eucharist you received today in the "now moment" of today is only today. It only happens once. You know, so in every way, shape, and form, every time we receive the Eucharist, it's always our first communion because when you come back next Sunday, you're gonna be in a different place. The world is gonna be in a different place. The moment is going to be different and you have a new refreshed moment to receive our Lord again, but it's going to be different than today. Today's moment is unique unto itself. So as you approach God's table today, prepare yourself for the moment of now, for the reception of Jesus Christ into your heart, mind, and soul now, and let God work in and through you now.
And then when you leave these doors today and you go back into your life, pause and think, not about the years, or the months, or the days, or even the hours. The practice through prayer being present to the now, because then every moment has the potential to sparkle and gleam and vibrate with the presence of God himself.
Father Mark Suslenko is the pastor of SS. Isidore and Maria Parish in Glastonbury, Connecticut. Learn more about our parish community at www.isidoreandmaria.org. And follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Our music comes free of charge from Blue Dot Sessions in Fall River, Massachusetts. I’m Carol Vassar. Thanks for joining us.