20th Sunday in Ordinary time Year B, 2012. Helpful Hints in reading and reflecting on the Scriptures, the Readings for the Sunday, Deep Sea Diving into the Scriptures, a realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh, Family Prayer around God’s Word, and a Blessing. Number 84

15 Aug



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Helpful hints

It is very important for us to read God’s Word slowly and reflectively. We are not reading it just to get information or answer questions; we must enable God’s Word to enter us just like liquid polish enters timber that is thirsty for nutrition. A good rule of thumb is to have a question like this in our mind……”Lord, what are you saying to ME in your Word today? Secondly, how can my life be changed, in order to allow God’s Word to find a Home in my being? Finally, as for special Feasts, Advent and Lent, the three Readings are in a sequence which has an underlying thread running through them. In Ordinary time, the First Reading, and the Gospel are bridged…so we generally look for the link. The Second Reading is continuous, and follows on to the next Sunday.

First Reading: Proverbs 9:1-6

Wisdom has built herself a house,

she has erected her seven pillars,

she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine,

she has laid her table.

She has despatched her maidservants

and proclaimed from the city’s heights:

‘Who is ignorant? Let him step this way.’

To the fool she says,

‘Come and eat my bread,

drink the wine I have prepared!

Leave your folly and you will live,

walk in the ways of perception.’

The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

(Let’s PAUSE and reflect upon this reading, and let us ask ourselves the two questions stated above. That is our PERSONAL response to the Word. This might take a few minutes, try not to rush it. The Psalm and Antiphon is the COMMUNITY response to God’s Word, a bit like a short and sweet Text Message)


Psalm: Ps 33:2-3. 10-15

R. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

I will bless the Lord at all times,

his praise always on my lips;

in the Lord my soul shall make its boast.

The humble shall hear and be glad. R.

Revere the Lord, you his saints.

They lack nothing, those who revere him.

Strong lions suffer want and go hungry

but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing. R.

Come, children, and hear me

that I may teach you the fear of the Lord.

Who is he who longs for life

and many days, to enjoy his prosperity? R.

Then keep your tongue from evil

and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn aside from evil and do good;

seek and strive after peace. R.

Second Reading: Ephesians 5:15-20

Be very careful about the sort of lives you lead, like intelligent and not like senseless people. This may be a wicked age, but your lives should redeem it. And do not be thoughtless but recognise what is the will of the Lord. Do not drug yourselves with wine, this is simply dissipation; be filled with the Spirit. Sing the words and tunes of the psalms and hymns when you are together, and go on singing and chanting to the Lord in your hearts, so that always and everywhere you are giving thanks to God who is our Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Let’s PAUSE again after this Reading, and reflect on it like you did after the first Reading. The Community Acclamation follows and should be sung: e.g ALLELUIA, or PRAISE TO YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST KING OF ENDLESS GLORY. When we are present at our Sunday Eucharistic Celebration, the Alleluia or Praise be to you…should always be sung. Why? It’s a bit like singing Happy Birthday!   We never say it… 🙂

 A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to John: 6:51-58

Jesus said to the crowd:

‘I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.

Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;

and the bread that I shall give

is my flesh, for the life of the world.’

Then the Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly,

if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man

and drink his blood,

you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood

has eternal life,

and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food

and my blood is real drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood

lives in me

and I live in him.

As I, who am sent by the living Father,

myself draw life from the Father,

so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven;

not like the bread our ancestors ate:

they are dead,

but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

The Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. 

Reflection time again……. Can you see and hear the links, connecting the First Reading, and the Gospel? After that, we are then ready for what is to follow…..



If you have ever opened your eyes under water, or used a snorkel and face mask, or had the opportunity to use an aqualung, it is a very different world to explore isn’t it? I love snorkelling, and it is though the fish welcome you into their world. However, they need to be treated with respect, and one must be aware of ‘no-go’ zones especially where sharks are known to call that place, ‘home’ especially at meal times. So, this next section is going down into the Scriptures, which opens the pathway for us to be curious about The Word, and it will also develop an appetite in us to do this more often. 

                                                                 Focusing the word

                                                                                        Key words and phrases

I am the living bread.

Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.

The bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world.

I shall raise him up on the last day.

Wisdom has built herself a house and says: ‘Come and eat my bread, drink the wine I have prepared’.

Leave your folly and you will live.

Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

to the point

This Sunday the gospel shifts from God sending bread (Jesus) to Jesus giving bread (his flesh and blood) ‘for the life of the world.’ Jesus’ self-giving is fulfilled on the cross and made present now in the Eucharist. Our eating his flesh and drinking his blood draws us into this same mystery of self-giving.

                                      Connecting the Word

                                                                      to the first reading

The challenge to ‘advance in the way of understanding’ (first reading) aptly applies to the mystery of the Eucharist. The mystery requires not only that we live it but that we contemplate its depths and grow in its demands.

to Catholic culture

A venerable Catholic tradition is eucharistic adoration. This adoration flows from our full and active participation in the eucharistic liturgy and leads to a life of eucharistic self-giving. The prayer of adoration realised in its fullness is to see God’s people through the Eucharist fortified by the ultimate meaning of the action of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples. This would seem to be the real challenge in the prayer of adoration.

                                             Understanding the Word

                                                                                Flesh and blood

There is a dramatic shift in the language in this Sunday’s gospel. In previous Sundays ‘bread’ referred to Jesus’ word and teaching; the response was ‘to believe’ in his word and in him. Now the bread is ‘my flesh and blood’; the response is to ‘eat and drink.’ John now develops the eucharistic aspects of ‘the bread from heaven.’

‘The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world’ is a clear reference to Jesus’ self-giving on the cross. The expression, ‘I will give my flesh’ is equivalent to ‘I lay down my life’ (John 10:15, 17; see Easter 4). The self-giving of Jesus on the cross is the same as his self-giving in the Eucharist: in both he gives his ‘flesh and blood.’

In the Bible ‘flesh and blood’ is used to describe humans in a general sense (Sir 14:18; 17:26) and relatives in particular (Gen 29:14). In this sense the ‘flesh and blood’ of Jesus stresses both his full humanity (‘the Word became flesh,’ John 1:14) and also his relatedness to his people (1:11; 13:1). Further, ‘flesh and blood’ are the primary elements offered in sacrifices presented to God in the Temple. Blood is the source of life (see the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ) and belongs to God: it is therefore poured out on the altar. The flesh of the sacrificial victim is used in two kinds of sacrifice: in a ‘holocaust’ the flesh is totally destroyed in fire, either in atonement for sin or to demonstrate one’s total dedication to God; in a ‘peace offering’ a portion of the flesh is destroyed in fire and the rest is eaten by the priests and those who provide the animal for sacrifice. In this sense Jesus is both kinds of sacrificial victim. Because his blood is poured out on the altar of the cross (John 19:34) and his life is totally given in sacrifice, he is a holocaust; but he is also a peace offering because his flesh and blood are consumed by those who participate in the eucharistic sacrifice.

PS: In the READINGS tab on the HOME PAGE of this blog, you will find four short Essays which I have written on the Eucharist. You will need to scroll down about half way according the slide on the right side of the page, Fr Kev

A realhomilie from Fr Kevin Walsh


Dear One and All,

In today’s gospel Jesus, and the Community of John, who put together this version of the Good News, goes to even greater lengths in teaching his listeners the central truth of Eucharist. In persevering with this teaching many of Our Lord’s listeners refused to accept it, and he loses them as followers. Let us now explore what Jesus is talking about.

What we call ‘Holy Communion’ is but a part of what we understand as ‘Eucharist’. In our celebration of Mass we have the Liturgy of the Word, and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. We are nourished by the word of God and by the Bread of life. We bring what gifts we have, what talents or good will we possess, and we offer these to God, embracing it with the deepest expression of praise and thanksgiving. ‘Eucharist’ comes from the Greek word: eucharistia, which means “thanksgiving”. We may think that we may not have much to give to God, but whatever we have is enough. We are reminded of this in the beautiful Hymn written by Deidre Browne:

‘Come as you are, that’s how I want you, come as you are fell quiet at home. Close to my heart, loved and forgiven; come as you are, why stand alone?’ GA 212

If time permits, it would be a worthwhile prayerful exercise to read today’s gospel once again before we approach the Altar for Holy Communion. By receiving the Eucharist, we are saying ‘Yes’ to the gospel, and we are declaring our acceptance of the offer that Jesus is making, and therefore our response in faith to the Bread of Life is to take seriously that we are a people who are connected together in Christ on our way to the Father, and are therefore we are commissioned not only to live the Good News in daily life, but to be what we have received….namely the Living Body of Christ.

So, everything to do with Eucharist is pure gift.  Even the willingness and readiness to accept and believe it is, in itself, a gift. ‘ Flesh and blood does not reveal this…but my Father in Heaven ‘ says the Lord.’ We should pray frequently asking the Spirit of God to enlighten us, to increase and strengthen our faith, to enkindle within us the fire of divine love, and to stir up within us a zeal and enthusiasm for things of God.

Finally, the teaching and invitation that comes to us through God’s Word today calls us to check out our inner dispositions as we prepare for frequent Holy Communion. Are we thinking about other things, like what we will be doing after Mass as we approach the Altar? Or are we engaged in silent prayerful communion, as we move in procession to receive the Bread of life?  After receiving Holy Communion at Mass what do we do? Read the Bulletin? Or do we sing the thanksgiving Hymn prayerfully, which has been especially chosen to respond to God’s word? Or do we pray silently?

God bless you and your families and may we never forget each other in prayer.  Fr.Kev

PS: In the READINGS tab on the HOME PAGE of this blog, you will find four short Essays which I have written on the Eucharist. You will need to scroll down about half way according the slide on the right side of the page.


This is a great opportunity to gather the Family in Prayer. Having a Prayer Setting really adds to and designates this time as a ‘special’ time together. You might like to have a nice coloured cloth on a coffee table, or on the centre of the Dining Room Table. You will need a candle, Crucifix, Bible …in the opened position, even at the Gospel of the Sunday, and maybe a flower. During Easter tide you might like to place some white and gold material on your devotional altar. You might like to create your own permanent ‘sacred space’ in your home, where the Word of God is open, and a small tee light within a fire proof glass, could awaken in the minds and hearts of your family of the ‘real presence’ of God in His Word.  Prayer time needs to be able to engage as many of our senses as possible. The burning of some fragrant oil also can evoke in the minds of your family, ‘prayer time’. Someone in the family might like to be the leader of the intercessions, then other family members can share the prayers….everyone can be invited to join is spontaneous shared prayer…

Leader: We place our needs before God, mindful that God nourishes us and strengthens us.

That members of the Church always raise grateful hearts in praise for the gift of Eucha­rist.

That all nations enjoy the peace that anticipates everlasting life.

That those who are quarrelling because of misunderstandings come to unity in the Body and Blood of Christ.

That all of us nourished by the Eucharist give ourselves in self-sacrifice for the sake of others.

In thanksgiving for the Olympic Games in London: it gave the opportunity for multi cultural bonding, sharing and understanding, we pray that the good work done there will be contagious for all the world. we pray to the   Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

Let’s think back over the past week, and what we have seen on the T.V News, Breaking News on our Mobile Phones and ipads….who are some of the people in our Global village or need our prayers? You might like to share some of these…………., we pray to the Lord: Lord, graciously hear us.

Leader: O wondrous God, you give us the gift of your Sons Body and Blood: hear these our prayers that we might remain in him and come one day to live forever with you. We ask this through that same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Blessing is taken from the Iona Abbey Sacramentary, Scotland.

Iona Abbey is located on the Isle of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest and most important religious centres in Western Europe. The abbey was a focal point for the spread of Christianity throughout Scotland and marks the foundation of a monastic community by St. Columba, when Iona was part of the Kingdom of Dál Riata.


1.                        The Cross


2.                        The bread……………


3.                       The pain


4.                        The joy………………


5.                        The Gospel……………


6.                       The love…………


7.                        The light……………


8.                       The darkness…………….



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