1Kings 19:4-8; Eph 4:30-5:2; John 6:41-51
Once there was a stonecutter who was bored and unhappy with his job. One morning, as he was cutting stones, he saw the king pass by. He prayed to God: “Lord, please make me that king because I am tired of being a stone cutter. It seems good to be king.” The Lord made him a king instantly.
While he was a king he was walking along a road one day, he found the sun much too hot that he was perspiring heavily. He said to God: “It seems the sun is more powerful than the king. I would like to be the sun.” instantly, the Lord made him the sun.
As he was shining brightly one morning, he found that the clouds were blocking his sunshine, then he thought to himself: “It seems as though the clouds are better than the sun because they can obstruct my sunshine.” So he said: “I want to be the clouds.” He became the clouds. Later on, he became the rain that poured down on the earth causing a flood. He said: “I’m now very powerful.”
Then he noticed a big rock that blocked his flow. He said to himself: “It seems the stone is more powerful than I am. I want to be this stone.” Then he became the stone.
One morning, a stonecutter started to cut him to smaller pieces. He said: “it seems the stonecutter is more powerful than I am. I want to be stonecutter.” Then he instantly became what he originally was.
According to Bishop Villegas, in his homily that we are the people who love to complain. We are a people who love to murmur. The gospel starts by saying that as soon as the Lord said to the Jews: “ I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” the Jews murmured to one another. They started to say: “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? Then how can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven?’”
Another past time that we have as human beings is that we love to talk too much. As one Jesuit priest said to a group of religious sisters: “Sisters, we talk too much. We have to shut up so that God can talk to us sometimes, too!”
“This is theologically correct,” according to Fr. Galdon, SJ. How can God talk to us when we are never listening? Elijah discovered that God didn’t speak in the thunderstorm or in the earthquake or the noise of the mighty wind. God spoke in the gentle breeze. But how are we going to hear the gentle breeze of the Lord when the stereo is turned up to full volume or the television is blushing away or nobody stops talking long enough to listen to himself or to anyone else or to the Lord? How can we listen to the Lord if our cellular phone is still turn on while we are attending Masses?
As Fr. Galdon, SJ had said, which I would quote most of the times in this homily, that one of our most common human faults is gossip. A Sociology book had also said that the average individual speaks about 18,000 words a day – a lot more than that. A lot of those words are not really very important, as we all know, so it’s not surprising that we all fall into gossip at one time or another.
Gossip is careless talk against people and about people in their absence. Moral theologians define gossip as defamation. When we gossip, we destroy the good name of another person. We “defame” them. The theologians also distinguish two kinds of defamation. Detraction or slander is the unjust or unfair revelation of another person’s real but hidden or secret faults. If I tell to my friends about the past secrets of a friend of mine too, that’s slander. The other kind is calumny which is the untruthful imputing of some faults to another which he did not actually commit.
St. Thomas says: “It is a serious matter to gossip and take away the good name of another, because among our temporal possessions nothing is more precious than our good name. If we do not have a good name, we are prevented from doing many good things. Therefore, it said: take care of your good name, for this will be a more lasting possession than a thousand valuable and precious treasures. Therefore, detraction or gossip is grievously sinful.”
Psychologists and Social Scientists also say, according to Fr. Galdon, that there are four kinds of gossip. The first is Angry gossip. Suppressed anger is one of the most common causes of malicious gossip. People cannot admit to themselves that they are angry nor can they express their anger directly and still keep their dignity so they let their anger out in malicious gossip. To cure this is to discharge it in a harmless manner and get busy about something else.
The second biggest cause gossip is envy. When we have feelings of discontent and ill-will because of other people’s advantages or possessions, we are showing signs of envy. Envious people often resort to Envious gossip with the clear intention of damaging the other person’s name or reputation..
Such envious people are not really happy. Their very act of gossiping only serves to increase their feelings of self-hatred. Actually, they want to be like them but they are not free.
The third is Entertaining or Amusing Gossip. Some people feel they have to gossip in order to be entertaining. They try to give impression that they have access to private information. They gossip only to be admired and according to experts, their gossip is really just a kind of compensation for low self-esteem.
The last one is Insecure Gossip that tries to impress us with its importance by approaching us with a juicy tidbit of gossip. Usually these people have few real friends. They regard all others as potential enemies. Gossips who act in this way are basically insecure. They have an obsession to be liked. This is the only way they have of feeling safe.
The point is that, murmuring, talking so much and gossip do not solve the situation. Let us stop doing all these and talk to God and in this sense we may be able to discover enlightenment and grace.
But what Jesus says that He is the living bread that came down from heaven and gives us eternal life is not a gossip but true. And then there are things we need to be concerned with just before we come to Communion. These are the elements of our proximate preparation. For example, concerning our clothing: Does our attire remind us that we are about to receive the King of kings and the Lord of lords? Or does it remind us of something else?
Concerning our thoughts: As we come down the aisle at Communion time, do we focus our thoughts on Jesus? or are we thinking about what we’re planning to do after Mass? Or are we focused on the people around us?
Concerning our actions: Do we approach the altar with hands folded? Do we make an act of reverence before we receive if we receive in the hand, do we make a fitting throne for the Lord and do we step to one side and consume the host reverently at the foot of the sanctuary?
Concerning our words: When the priest or extraordinary minister says, “The Body of Christ,” do we respond with a faith-filled and enthusiastic “Amen”?
Fruitful reception of the Holy Eucharist makes a big difference. According to Jesus, it not only gives us spiritual strength for this life, it also brings us one step closer to heaven. May all of us prepare properly and then receive fruitfully as often as possible.
See Today’s Readings: Cycle B