Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 19, 2018 – Year B
Readings: Prv 9:1-6 / Ps 34 / Eph 5:15-20 / Jn 6:51-58
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
Yesterday, fifteen couples renewed their marriage vows at the five o’clock Mass in our sister parish, Resurrection, and one couple was Bud and Alice Siess, who are celebrating their sixty-eighth wedding anniversary this year. Six eight. About half of the couples who stood in front of the altar, renewing their pledge to love and to hold until death, have been married for more than sixty years.
Before yesterday’s Mass, I googled the question, “How to live happily ever after.” And I discovered that there is actually an article with that title. It is supposed to be the result of a scientific study on what works and what doesn’t in marriage.
But Bud and Alice surely don’t need to read this article. They are living proof that it is still possible to live happily ever after in the digital age. When I asked them how they managed to live a harmonious and loving relationship for almost seven decades now, they just smiled. In all these years I’ve known them, they are just so happy being together. They may not have the scientific knowledge on how to make marriage work, but they have the wisdom to know the right thing to do as they continue their journey as husband and wife in this confused world.
Nowadays we can get almost any information we need by just swiping the screen of our phones. Acquiring knowledge in any subject is a lot easier. But gaining wisdom cannot be done through our smartphones, iPads, tablets, or any form of computer. True wisdom is a gift that only God can give.
The good news for all of us gathered here this morning is that we already received this gift in the sacrament of Baptism and the sacrament of Confirmation. If we use the gift of wisdom, we’ll find that making decisions is a lot easier than by the use of our reason alone.
God’s words in the Book of Proverbs, which we have heard in today’s first reading, tells us that Wisdom is inviting us: “Let whoever is simple turn in here.” And to the one who lacks understanding, she says, “Come. Eat my food and drink of the wine I have mixed, and advance in the way of understanding.”
We can easily substitute the name of Christ for the word Wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, because He is not only wise, being the Son of God, but He is Wisdom personified.
In the second reading, St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians tells us that what wisdom is, is trying to understand the will of the Lord and living it.
As we continue reading Chapter Six this Sunday of the Gospel of John, which is the Bread of Life discourse, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is the source of all wisdom, is once again telling us, “I am the Living Bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” We all know and believe that He is referring to the Holy Eucharist, which is the reason why we are all here at this very moment in the sanctuary of Holy Name of Mary.
Bud and Alice, for more than sixty-eight years now of married life, always make it a point to receive Jesus in Holy Communion, not only on Sundays, but also on weekdays, because, as they put it, this is what gives them strength and makes them feel God’s presence in their lives.
It is indeed wise to eat the Living Bread that Jesus gives us. It will not only give us spiritual strength as we continue our journey in this world, but the life that will never end.
And this is the reason why St. John Paul II calls the Eucharist a mystery of God’s presence and the perfect fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to remain with us until the end of time.