Eighteenth Sunday B in Ordinary Time

The crowd noticed that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there. So they also got into the boats, came to Capernaum, and sought Jesus. When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” you are fed up. Do not seek after the Passover food, but for the food that remains for eternal life, and it shall give you the Son of man, for his Father hath called his seal ” They said to him, “What shall we do to do the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “It is the work of God to believe in him whom he has sent.” They told him, “What sign will you do? To see and believe you? What do you do? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, as it is written, “He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” Jesus replied, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not bread from heaven; For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. And they said to him, “Lord, always give us such bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. “
Jn 6: 24- 35

Catechesis: What is the Church?
The French naturalist, popularizer of natural sciences Jean Henri Fabre (1823 – 1915 – illustrated encyclopedic dictionary, ČSAV – Academia 1980, p. 621) retired to his birthplace, where he liked to debate with a local priest. One day, the dignified gentleman hurried home, saying he had to prepare a Sunday discipline. “What are you going to preach about?” Fabre asks. “On the divine origin of the Church,” replied the dignified Lord. “And what would you say, Mr. Fabre, on this subject, believers?” The priest asks. “It is very easy,” the scholar replied. I would say, “Take, say, 12 men from our village, train them for three years, then place them in De la Concorde in Paris, and let them declare.  We are now founding a new religion!’ Two thousand years, let a bill be made of what happened to the twelve and their new religion!”
An exciting, but also a well-founded view of the Church.
What is the Church?
To the question: “What is the Wandering Church,” our excellent, yet still curious catechism answers: The Wandering Church is a society of people living on earth who
1. are baptized,
2. Believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ (if they have attained the use of reason);
3. Recognize the Pope as their visible spiritual head.
Spiritually, even the unbaptized belong to the traveling Church if they sincerely desire to know the truths that God has revealed, and they seek these truths impartially. (Small Catechism, SSV Trnava 1971, question 118)
St. Paul put it into words: What is invisible in him – his eternal power and divinity – can be known from the world’s creation by reason from created things, so they have no excuses (Rom 1:20).
This year, I was moved not only by the sight of the crowds that filled St. Peter’s Square during many services, but I also often watched the long crowds of pilgrims who humbly waited to pass through the Holy Gate. I tried to imagine the life history of each of these pilgrims, which consists of anxiety and pain. A story that met Christ and that – in dialogue with him – set out on the path of hope. As I watched the constantly flowing groups, I gained a kind of plastic image of the wandering Church. To that Church which is located, as St. Augustine – “between the persecutions of the world and the comforts of God” (c. D. I. 8). And St. Father John Paul II, in the apostolic letter Novo millennial ineunte writes: “The innumerable sons and daughters of the Church have followed in the footsteps of the saints, taking turns here at the tombs of the apostles, filled with the desire to confess their faith, confess their sins and receive saving mercy.
The Church, then, is truly a sublime, divine-human institution. It is a Divine institution because the Lord Jesus Himself established it.
The Lord Jesus first promised St. Peter that he would become the head of the Church. It was in Caesarea when the Lord Jesus asked: Who do you consider me to be? – Simon Peter answered, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And the Lord Jesus responds by saying, And I say unto you, Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and what you lose on earth will be bound in heaven (cf. Mt 16: 13-19).
The very provision of St. Peter came to the head of the Church only after the Lord’s resurrection at Lake Tiberias, when the Lord Jesus, after a threefold declaration of love, entrusted him with this office with the words: Feed my lamb, feed my sheep (cf. Jn 21: 15-17).
The divine element in the Church was, is, and will be beautiful forever, as St. Paul: You have prepared a glorious Church, without blemish, without wrinkle, and without any other error, but holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27).
Unfortunately, the human element in the Church was often unfortunate. All we have to do is go through the history of the Church, and we can see how many sad, even black pages people have written in the history of the Church. From the very beginning, various delusions began to appear. The apostles have often had to take strict action against heretics! Arianism and many other offensive behaviors of irresponsible members of the Church came from both superiors and simple believers. The so-called black century, the century of the significant decline of the papacy. History also knows two and three parades… And finally, Hus and Luther were Catholic priests … However, the Church overcame all human misery with the special help of the Holy Spirit because the gates of hell will not overcome her… (Mt 16:18) and: Behold, I am with you until the end of the world (Matt. 28:20).
I used to read the story of how a little boy had fun on a boat: he scratched at the mast, ran, ran, … But a storm and a storm broke out. The passengers retreated to the lower deck of the cabins. However, the boy remained outside. We have called on him to hide that he is in great danger. He rushed on and replied to the warnings: I’m not afraid. After all, my father is at the helm of the ship. If I was in danger, he would definitely tell me!
My dear ones, it is beautiful to sail even in a stormy sea when we are sure that the boat we are sailing on cannot sink. And that boat is the Church and at its helm is HE, LORD JESUS. Diocletian minted coins in vain: In memory of the destruction of the name of a Christian … In vain, enemy tombstones dug the graves of the Church. She is here, and there are no monuments after them.
Our parish is also the LOCAL CHURCH. What is our local Church like? Indeed, the Divine is lovely in her, too! But the human thing that depends on me, on you … is it really wonderful? Am I a healthy limb on the body of this local Church, and through it on the body of the worldwide Church? What mental state am I in? Am I living as a beloved child of God, as a faithful brother and sister of the Lord Jesus, and am I a beautiful temple of the Holy Spirit?
We often have a great desire and courage to criticize everything that happens in the Church. Well, you have to start ruthlessly from each other! I often want to be a reformer of the Church! Here, too, it is necessary to start from each other. May the branch I am in the tree of the Church always be green and bear rich fruit of good deeds! May the limb by which I am on the mysterious body of Christ always be viable, engaging in the religious life of the parish community! May I be as valuable a member of the Church of Christ as the Venerable Father Bishop Vasil Hopko and the Venerable Religious Sister Zdenka?
Let us walk to the eternal home, to the completion of the Church in the kingdom of heaven according to their pattern. They will certainly help us to achieve the desired goal with their effective help.


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