I am the bread of life —Six of the most important words in the gospel, words packed with meaning.
For many of the parishes in the Diocese of Richmond today will be the first Sunday the people will meet their new priest. Some will like him; some will not. And today's gospel,reminds us why it doesn't matter.
As a priest prepares to celebrate mass he puts on a series of vestments:
-the alb, the white garment of baptism
- the cincture which he ties around his waist
-the stole, symbol of his office as a priest
-and over it all a chasuble in the appropriate color for the day.
Why all this stuff ? So that I the priest disappear.
When we preside at mass; whether priest, bishop, cardinal, or pope; we are called to abandon ourselves and act in the person of Christ. At the Eucharistic prayer you will notice that even the pope takes off the white zuchetta that marks him as pope.
Fr. Wayne is not the Bread of Life, nor Bishop DiLorenzo, nor Pope Francis. There is only one Bread of Life, Jesus.
It's the same reason our "Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy" say that " no one, not even a priest, may add change, or remove anything from the Liturgy". It's not my liturgy to change.
Some of us are better administrators, some are better preachers, some are better at visiting the sick etc etc. But today's gospel reminds us that when it comes right down to it, Church is not about the minister. We should go to mass to worship God, and to receive the Bread of Life.
Every minister like every other person is gifted in different ways, and we are all imperfect creatures of God. On the Lord's Day, we are called by God to bring our gifts and imprefections, ordained minister and laity, untied in the great dialogue that is our liturgy, united as one we offer or praise to God, and God in turn offers himself to us in the Eucharist.
Today for one hour, let us set aside our critical self, let us all lose ourselves in the Liturgy, and in losing ourselves let us find the one true Bread of Life, the one who is all in all