During today’s first Reading from the Prophet Isaiah, we heard Yahweh’s great prophecy through the words of the great prophet. The words of Yahweh that we heard through Isaiah were:
- A new and everlasting Covenant
- The coming of the Messiah, the Son of God
- The event of the Last Supper
- The institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
What was this New Covenant? This was the covenant that the Lord promised to make with the House of Israel, when the Lord said, “I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The Lord God also promised to give a new human spirit to His children. Over and above this, the Lord God had promised that His Holy Spirit would make His indwelling within His children.
Was the new covenant ever sealed? Yes! It was sealed in two parts. The first part was sealed during the Last Supper when Jesus said, “This cup that is poured out for you is the New Covenant of My Blood.” Finally, on the next day, through the blood of Christ on the Cross, as for the remission of sins of the world, the New Covenant was sealed forever.
Those who have repented of their sins, who placed their faith in Jesus and who have been baptized, they have received the free gifts of the promised indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the new heart and spirit that comes with the newness of life in Jesus Christ. As members of the Body of Christ, they were spiritually equipped to walk their living faith in Christ in order to inherit the eternal Kingdom of God.
The institution of the Eucharist, the real presence of the Lord among us, fulfilled God’s promise that in the days of the New Covenant, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, He would make His dwelling among His people. Just prior to the promise of a New Covenant, God said through the prophet Isaiah, “incline your ear, and come to me: Listen, so that you may live.”These Sacred Words of God are a personal invitation to each and everyone of us to come forward and participate in the great banquet of Divine joy that is manifested during the celebration of the Holy Mass. These Sacred words are an invitation to those who meet the basic requirement, to “thirst” for God.
Through Isaiah, God said, “Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters…” What does it mean to come to the waters? John the Baptist tells us in sacred Scripture, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful that I is coming after me. I am not worthy to carry His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” From these words, it is spiritually perceived that “water” is the symbol of the Holy Spirit and of fire and of the Sacrament of Baptism. Going to another Bible passage, Jesus said, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink.”
Earlier in His teachings, Jesus had said, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh, and what is born of spirit is Spirit.” Based on the aforementioned Bible passages, we as Catholics can see why the Church puts so much emphasis on the symbolic use of water in our ritual practices, beginning with Baptism right on through to the blessing of grave-sites.
The mentioning of the loaves of bread and the fish in today’s Gospel was symbolic. They foreshadowed what was to come after the death and glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus. The fish echoes the words of Jesus to Peter and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you fish for people.” The fish echoes the ministry of the Priesthood in the Holy Catholic Church. It echoes the calling of Holy men to become Holy priests as instruments of God. Through these holy men, the Church Sacraments are administered and souls are saved.
For this reason the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “The Church affirms that for believers the Sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation.” Without these Sacraments, there is no remission of sins after the Sacrament of Baptism. Without these Sacraments there is no reception of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus that gives life to our souls. The Sacraments are an absolute necessity to the Christians who desire eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
The loaves of bread were symbolic of the institution of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. At the Last Supper, “Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it He broke it, gave it to the apostles and said, ‘Take, eat, this is my body. ‘” Earlier in His ministry, Jesus had said, “This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give for the life of the world is My flesh.
”My friends, I hope by now most of you must have perceived that today’s message for the Scripture readings, is that God has compassion for us. Through the free gift of the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, we have been provided with the opportunity to turn our lives around, from death to life in Christ. We may suffer for awhile in this life. We may temporarily lose loved ones who are suddenly called to eternal life. We may endure financial difficulties, opposition from those who do not share our values, persecution because of our faith, emotional strain because of the ongoing pandemic, but none of these can keep us away from God. As God’s precious children, called to inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, our present losses are physical, belonging to a world that will come to an end. Our gains are Spiritual, belonging to an eternal Heaven. My brothers and sisters, as long as we faithfully continue to receive the Sacraments through the love of Jesus, we will continue to benefit from God’s compassion for us. In the end, we will win the Spiritual race that will lead us to our Father who awaits us in Heaven. And one last thing: I would ask that sometime this week you say a prayer for the 4 children at St. Mary’swho will be receiving their First Communion next Saturday Night. AMEN!!!!