Dear Brothers and Sisters,
In a previous assignment, I told a staff member that I was going to pull the milk weeds out of the garden. She urged me to let them grow because monarch butterflies land on them to eat some of the sap inside the weeds. When I told her that the sap was toxic, she explained that that is why the butterflies eat it. It makes them toxic and discourages predators from eating the monarchs as they make their way north in the spring and south in the fall—what an odd survival strategy!
The gospel reading for this Sunday is the fourth in the five-part series of readings from the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, frequently referred to by scripture scholars as the chapter on the Bread of Life. Next Sunday, August 26th, we will hear the last portion of this chapter.
It occurs to me that to some (many?) people the reception of the Eucharist seems like an odd survival strategy. Like the monarch butterflies, we ingest what is a known by the residents of Sodom to be a toxin to keep ourselves from becoming prey. This strategy makes sense to people who, whether from experiential knowledge (gained through sin) or by faith (embraced from the witness of another – “don’t mess with snakes, you’ll get bit”), have opted to survive on the medicine of divine love, the New Testament manna, as a survival strategy.
The sheer bluntness of Jesus’ language is offensive to us who have not yet completed our weaning from original sin: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…” This is a vocabulary that is visceral (the meaning is more intuited than factual). This is language that inspires the faithful who change diapers, do laundry, work in operating rooms, nurseries and factories, run businesses, worry honestly about those they are elected to represent or protect, hold feverish children with runny noses because they love them with a love that says “I am with you here and now. Don’t be afraid,” while hierarchs are left to savor the theology of it. This is a language that requires ascent to the One who invites us to survive on the oddest of all foods, the divine manna that leaves the loveless whose hunger will never be fully satisfied complaining about the wretched food (Numbers 21: 1-5) that is on the menu. Perhaps that is the reason why the repetitious exposure to love during family meals appeals to souls more eloquently than the most carefully crafted homily. The family and the supper table are the locus of love, the place where the tread meets the pavement, when it comes to arenas where salvation is served as breakfast, lunch or supper.
If, in the process of serving the gospel to your loved ones, they complain because it is unappealing to them, be patient and persistent in your serving. Be patient with those who act as if you are toxic and remember that you thought the same thing at times about your parents. (True?) It is only a matter of time until the diners understand how well they have been loved and, like the Israelites of old, eventually embrace the truth that sets all free. In truth, there is a Lord who invites us to live on Him even when He looks like us because we’ve become what he has served as food for the journey through this desert.
The Body of Christ is on the menu. What a peculiar survival strategy. God is good.
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The parish of Saint Andrew, a welcoming, joyful and renewing Catholic community, dedicates itself to serving all of God’s people with the love of Jesus Christ and His mission.
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If you are hearing Wedding Bells! Congratulations on your engagement! To see more details about being married at St. Andrew, please click at the Education menu and click again at Pre-Cana, and click at Marriage Preparation at St. Andrew. This is a print off of information you will need stating fees that are detailed. $300 for the use of the church if you are not a member, fees for the organist and cantor. It is difficult to mention costs, yet knowing how important it is for you to have the very best for your wedding day, we at Saint Andrew want to service you the very best as well. Please call 454-2486 with questions.
Weekday Masses are in The Annunciation Chapel (located in the white building by the parking lot). The Mass times in our Chapel are: 8:00 a.m. on Mon., Tues., Thurs., & Fri. There is No Wed. mass.
Saint Andrew and Saint Jude
Ken Adams; 814-440-7813
1:30-4:00pm every other Tuesday
Food and clothing are available.
We are able to serve anyone in the neighborhood within our Second Harvest boundaries and all parishioners in need.
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH TO; GANNON UNIVERSITY, SEW WHAT SEWING GROUP & THE BOB EVANS GROUP ON UPPER PEACH ST. Your contributions mean sooooooooooo much to our clients!!
8:00 a.m. to noon
12:30 p. m. to 4:00 p. m.
Wednesday, closed all day.
Sunday: 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Holy Day Eucharist
or as marked in bulletin