FAREWELL FROM FR. JOSH
As I head out to my new assignment (as Parochial Administrator of St. Mary in Bloomfield and St. Rose of Lima in Blanco), I wanted to say thank you to all of the parishioners here at Sacred Heart Cathedral for these past two years – two great years! I’m so grateful that my first assignment as a young priest was with you. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful time for me. Through all the Masses, Baptisms, Confirmations, Confessions, Anointings, Funerals, Marriages, Ordinations, RCIA classes, CCD classes and Youth Group meetings, it’s been a joy to serve you and try to love you with the heart of Christ, our Good Shepherd. It’s a deep privilege for your priests to be a intimate part of the incredible web of grace that the Lord weaves in each of our lives; thank you for letting me be a part of your relationship with the Loving God.
Thank you also to Bishop Wall, Fr. Matthew Keller, the wonderful staff and volunteers here at the Cathedral, all the weekday Mass crew, and the other priests who have lived here at the Cathedral – I’ve loved being with you everyday.
Please pray for the poor parishioners of my new parishes as they learn how to deal with their rookie administrator! You will all remain in my prayers and in my heart.
In Jesus and His Mother,
This is a continuation of the dialog I had by letter concerning the Catholic Belief in the Eucharist more than 10 years ago.
3). Isn’t drinking blood forbidden in the Scriptures?
A direct command from Jesus in this matter settles any debate about the interpretation of the Old testament dietary laws. As I just showed, Jesus gives us His Blood in a mysterious way, under the appearance of wine.
Jesus said, “For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed”. (Jn 6: 56)
He commanded us to eat and drink His Body and Blood: “Amen, Amen I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.” (Jn 6:53). The dietary laws of the Old Covenant were concerned first and foremost with the blood of animals. The Blood of Jesus is not in its former, natural condition. Rather, it is sacramentally present under the appearance of wine. Therefore, St. Paul asks; “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not the sharing of the blood of Christ? And the bread we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord? (1Cor 10:16).
4). Does he really mean that literally?
Obviously He means it literally since Jesus repeated himself six times in a row as recorded in the 6th chapter of John’s Gospel, commanding us to eat His flesh and drink His blood. He asked, “does this shock you?” (Jn 6:61). Those who couldn’t accept His teaching left Him (v. 66) He didn’t call anyone back and tell them they misunderstood by taking him literally, in fact He asked His apostles if they also wished to leave; they accepted His literal words and stayed.(Jn 6:67-69). How do you respond to the question of Jesus: does this shock you? If you were there, which group would you have joined?
5). Doesn’t He rather mean that unless we appropriate to ourselves by faith the value of His death for us on Calvary, we can never be saved?
It is true that the first part of the dialogue concerns faith. But Jesus doesn’t stop there. He tells us plainly that “the bread I will give is my flesh” (Jn 6:51). When Jesus explains that the bread of life is literally His flesh, we must accept His clear words. We cannot prefer a different explanation to the one Jesus Himself provides.
Believing in Jesus (the teaching of the first part of the discourse, verses 22-47) means believing that He will give us His actual flesh and blood to eat (the teaching of the second part v. 49-51).
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