Reflection: 19th August 2018

A Reflection for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time

JN 6: 51-58 (   )

The Gospels for these Sundays are taken from Chapter 6 of St. John which gives us a profound teaching on Jesus as the Bread of Life.

I have always marvelled at the respect and faith of people in the Eucharist. I still have vivid memories of the glow of joy and excitement on the face of the elderly Jesuit in Rome in the early 1950s as he expounded on a document of Pope Pius XII relaxing some of the more severe rules around the celebration and reception of the Eucharist. His excitement was infectious and spilled over to us students. He was so excited because the wonderful gift of the Eucharist was to be more accessible to people.

Over the years I have witnessed the great joy and peace the Eucharist brings to people’s lives. I remember bringing Holy Communion to a young terminally ill Nigerian student in a Lagos Hospital in 1970. She was so serene and calm and accepting of her situation.  What faith and hope and love!

And then there was the elderly west Kerry Irish-speaking woman who on receiving the Eucharist went off into a chat (call it a prayer if you will} with her Íosa and didn’t want to know anyone else just then. Or Kathleen here in Knockmitten – housebound for many years – who liked a lengthy period of prayer after receiving the Lord.

All wonderful examples of deep faith in and love for the Eucharist.

A continual inspiration and challenge.

Des Byrne C.S.Sp. – Fr Des is from Co. Wicklow.  Ordained in Rome in 1954, he served in Nigeria from 1955 until the mid-1970s.  He has been in pastoral ministry in Clondalkin in west Dublin since the late 1990s with responsibility for the Knockmitten area.