Living in the centre of Canterbury means it is so easy to go to all the main supermarkets for food shopping. I am spoilt for choice. Also if i feel peckish there is a Pizza place opposite and several fast food outlets just round the corner. My physical hunger can be satisfied very easily and quickly. But today we are challenged to think not about our physical hunger but the hunger of our heart, the hunger that causes us to be restless and dissatisfied. How can we satisfy this hunger and thirst that causes us unease? We look for fulfilment in relationships, in receiving honour and position, in status and in wealth.
What Jesus says in today’s Gospel is, “I am the bread of life.” What this is saying to you and me is, “I am the one who satisfies your hunger and I am the one who quenches your thirst.” We talk about the Ambo from where we hear the Scriptural readings as “the Table of the Word.” We hear the Word of God read or rather
proclaimed at each Mass. It is God speaking to us and revealing himself to us. Here is food that satisfies and drink that quenches.
For this to happen we need to be prepared to listen to God’s Word and God’s Word needs to worthily proclaimed. Here are some practical suggestions. If you have a Sunday Missal, look at the readings before you come to Mass. There are inexpensive booklets available in the Narthex of the church published each
month that give you all the readings. Also this week in the Narthex there are copies of the Wednesday Word which contains next Sunday’s readings. (19th in Ordinary Time ). You can pray and reflect on next Sunday’s readings during the week. You could take home this weeks’ newsletter and read again what you heard during Mass and use it in prayer.
Also if you want resources and suggestions for reading Scripture, have a look at the August edition of the “God who Speaks” newsletter created by the God who Speaks team at the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales in partnership with the Bible Society. Each month it offers updates on news, events and
resources that you might find helpful for your engagement with the Bible.
Finally, I love these words from St Caesarius of Arles (469 – 541)
The word of God is in no way less than the Body of Christ; nor should it be received less worthily.
I ask you, brothers or sisters, tell me: which to you seems the greater, the word of God, or the Body of Christ? If you wish to say what is true you will have to answer that the word of God is not less than the Body of Christ.
Therefore just as when the Body of Christ is administered to us, what care do we not use so that nothing of it falls from our hands to the ground, so should we with equal care see that the word of God which is being imparted to us shall not be lost to our soul, while we speak or think of something else.
For he who listens carelessly to the word of God is not less guilty than he who through his own inattention suffers the Body of Christ to fall to the ground.