Tuesday, January 5, 2021

 Memorial of Saint John Neumann, bishop

(I John 4:7-10; Mark 6:34-44)

The story of Jesus’ feeding of the is told in all four gospels.  It is also proclaimed at mass throughout the year.  The narrative is central to the Catholic understanding of the identity and mission of Jesus.  It shows Jesus as the bread of life who has come to bestow eternal life to believers in him.

In today’s first reading the author says that God shows His love for humans by sending us His Son.  It was not just a “once and for all” event.  Rather God sends His Son to us all the time in the Eucharist.  The Son Jesus Christ does not only become part of us.  Paradoxically, by eating His body and drinking his blood, we become more part of him.  We become more loving and truthful as we secure a place for ourselves in his body, the Church.

Today, especially the Church in the United States remembers St. John Neumann.  He immigrated to the United States from Bohemia.  Once here, he presided over the Eucharist thousands of times as a priest and then as a bishop.  Naturalized a citizen, he became the first saint of the United States.