Fr. Daniel Gifford
FAITH IN OUR GOD
Dear St. Louis Parishioners,
As we continue the Sunday Lectionary’s journey through John 6, I want to feature a window, which might be a somewhat surprising choice. You may recall that on Corpus Christi Sunday, I featured the Last Supper window and proposed that it might also reference the Bread of Life Discourse. One reason, which I said I would elaborate upon later, is due to its proximity to the Calming of the Storm at Sea window (front cover). The imagery of Christ and His Apostles upon the water is a common motif, which comes up multiple times in the Gospel, as an invitation toward greater faith in God, even upon the often turbulent sea of this life. However, at times, this image seems closely linked to the teachings and prefigurations of the Eucharist. The walking on water is the one other event that occurs in John 6, between the multiplication of loaves the discourse itself. Meanwhile, in the Gospel of Mark, we can see another clear connection between the water and the two multiplications of loaves. In her commentary on Mark, Mary Healy notes that these two miracles of the bread follow a distinct pattern, in which each miraculous feeding is followed by a crossing over the water. This pattern concludes with a profession of faith and is meant “to show a deepening revelation of the mystery of Jesus.” This deepening revelation of the mystery of Jesus continues every time He feeds us with Himself in the Eucharist. Meanwhile, this first part of the Bread of Life discourse, which is featured in this week’s Gospel, focuses on the invitation to faith. At every Mass, may we wonder at the mystery that the same God, who commands the wind and the waves, humbles Himself to become present to us, under the appearance of bread and wine. May this mystery deepen our faith in the God who is bigger than every storm we face in life.
VISITING PRIEST: Especially this weekend, as he makes his appeal at Mass, I want to thank you all for helping me to show hospitality to our visiting priest, Father Fabien. I am grateful to know that we have so many committed to hospitality. This will come in handy (see below).
PREACHING SERIES - THE LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE (PSALM 127): As I previously shared, the preaching series, which starts next week, will be focused on the spiritual dispositions that every parishioner should work to foster within themselves, if we are to be faithful laborers, who allow the Lord to build the house (the parish family) and to support it, to keep it strong and sturdy. I also mentioned that the foundation upon which it builds is the notion that our mission of building up the community, by making disciples of Jesus Christ, is rooted in a sense of identity, which is rooted in relationship. RELATIONSHIP → IDENTITY → MISSION (R.I.M.). Upon this foundation, five pillars rest. These five pillars are the dispositions, which we must work to foster, if we are to help hold the house strong. They are Prayer, Humility, Integrity, Responsibility, and Hospitality. You may notice the movement through the R.I.M. foundation, as we begin with our relationship with God (prayer), develop a healthy awareness of our identity (humility), so that we may live out that identity (integrity). And out of this identity comes the awareness that we are not our own (responsibility), motivating us to be intentional and aware of others, welcoming them deeper into communion (hospitality). Each of these pillars will have both a homily and midweek event, in order to help us enter into it. May the Lord continue to build the house and keep it strong!
In Christ through Mary,
St. Louis, pray for us!
Blessed Mary, Queen Mother of the King of Kings, pray for us!