REFLECTION/HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE SIXTEENTH (16TH) WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

THE PROFOUND REALITY OF THE HOLY EUCHARIST: BEYOND SEEKING SIGNS AND WONDERS

First Reading: Exodus 14:5-18
Responsorial Psalm: Exodus 15:1-6
Gospel Reading: Matthew 12:38-42
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In the bustling landscape of today’s Christianity, there seems to be an insatiable hunger for signs and wonders. People flock to witness miraculous manifestations, eagerly seeking external displays of divine power. While it is natural for humans to seek meaning, purpose, and validation in their lives, solely relying on signs and wonders as a measure of faith or proof of the divine can lead to various pitfalls and challenges. Yet, amidst this quest for extraordinary phenomena, we often overlook the profound and enduring reality that lies before us: the Holy Eucharist. In today’s Gospel Reading, Christ points us to the sign of Jonah, a foreshadowing of His own resurrection, and emphasized that something greater than Solomon was in their midst. This cautionary tale serves as a timeless reminder of the futility of the pursuit of signs and wonders while ignoring the greatest sign of all, that is, the Holy Eucharist, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection.

In the First Reading from Exodus 14:5-18 and the Responsorial Psalm from Exodus 15:1-6, we encounter a significant sign of God’s power and presence – the parting of the Red Sea. It was a miraculous event that should have left an indelible mark on the hearts of the Sons of Israel. However, as their journey in the wilderness continued, they seemed to have forgotten this awe-inspiring sign, questioning God’s providence and losing faith in His promises. Sadly, this pattern persists today, as many Christians seek signs and wonders without fully appreciating the great mysteries already revealed to us through the sacraments.

Unfortunately, the clamour for miraculous demonstrations seems unquenchable as Matthew reveals the plea of the scribes and Pharisees in his Gospel (Matthew 12:38-42). Here, they demanded further proof from Jesus, despite witnessing countless miracles. Yet, in the midst of this quest for extraordinary signs, lies a profound caution from the very lips of Christ himself. He reproached those seeking additional wonders, declaring that the greatest sign was already before them – the Holy Eucharist, the memorial of His death and resurrection, symbolized in the sign of Jonah and surpassing the wisdom of Solomon.

Dear friends in Christ, the Holy Eucharist stands as the preeminent sign and reality of God’s presence among us. Jesus, in referring to the “sign of Jonah,” pointed to His own death and resurrection, foreshadowed in the prophet Jonah’s three days in the belly of the whale. This ultimate sign of Christ’s sacrificial love is perpetuated in the Holy Eucharist, where He is truly present in the consecrated bread and wine. It is a miraculous reality that transcends all other wonders, and yet, it is often met with disbelief and indifference. We (Catholics) have been blessed with numerous Eucharistic miracles throughout history, where the consecrated hosts have visibly transformed into flesh and blood. These occurrences serve as tangible signs of God’s profound love and presence in the Eucharist. However, despite these extraordinary events, many still struggle with doubt and fail to recognize the magnitude of Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist. This paradox highlights the human propensity to crave more signs while neglecting the greatest sign of all – the enduring presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

The pursuit of signs and wonders in various churches and ministries can lead to a superficial and disjointed faith experience. It is a disheartening reality that some may jump from one church to another in search of the next spectacular event, never fully embracing the profound mysteries revealed in the sacraments. We are called to remember that true Christianity is not a quest for signs and wonders but a deep, intimate relationship with Christ, nurtured through prayer, the Word of God, and the Sacramental life.

Above all, the quest for signs and wonders may distract us from the greatest reality – the Holy Eucharist, wherein Christ’s love and presence abide. Let us heed the caution of Christ and find contentment and fulfillment in the profound mysteries of our faith, embracing the sign of Jonah and surpassing the wisdom of Solomon through our unwavering belief in the Holy Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist, as the greatest sign, calls us to embrace the reality of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection, granting us eternal hope and communion with our Saviour. Let us find contentment in the Sacraments and cultivate a strong, unwavering faith, recognizing God’s constant miracles in our lives.

(CLICK HERE FOR THE NEXT DAY’S REFLECTION: REFLECTION/HOMILY FOR THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES, APOSTLE)

Shalom!
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
nozickcjoe@gmail.com / fadacjay@gmail.com

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Chinaka Justin Mbaeri

A staunch Roman Catholic and an Apologist of the Christian faith. More about him here.

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