T. Coonan Homily 8-19-2012 Faith in Christ is the key to unlocking eternal life.
Jesus does not explain the entire theology of the Eucharist to the Jews. He is inviting them to faith - Faith in who He is. In fact, He is forcing them to make a choice about Him. Either He is crazy, or He's malicious and intending to lead them astray, or He is exactly who He says He is. If they have Faith who Christ is, they will believe what He is teaching (even without fully comprehending it) and will find the gift of eternal life. Faith in Christ is the key to unlocking eternal life.
Last week I went on retreat to a monastery near Dubuque, Iowa. The place was surrounded by endless fields of corn, with some occassional soybeans. Every day I went for a jog out in those open spaces, and longed to run in those fields along the winding trails. However, the corn was like almost 8-feet tall, too high for me to see out - it was like a maze, and going in would be foolishness. So, since I didn't want you all to mourn the loss of your beloved parochial vicar who managed to starved to death in a corn field, I did what any Generation-X'er would do: I got on a computer, opened Google Earth and studied those corn fields from an aerial view. Then, although I still couldn't see anything more while I was in those trails, I knew where I was headed because I had seen the whole truth of that field. Simple solution: yes. Wise solution: definitely.
That is a small example of the wisdom that we hear about in the first and second readings today.
The first reading, although we only hear one side of it, presents us with a sort of competition between Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly or Foolishness. Both set up a banquet before us and both invite us to freely come forward and take what they wish to give us. One generously offers to our fragile simplicity the gift of truth, goodness, and beauty, summed up as “life”. The other takes advantage of our ignorance by deceptively offering a cheap meal “stolen bread” founded lies, which (unawares to the misguided) veils is true reality: chains and death.
Wisdom is not easy to come by, because it means knowing deeply and intimately, by our own personal experiences, what is true, what is good and just, what is beautiful – and thus knowing Who is God, since He is the fulness of all these things. However, it is not beyond the grasp of anyone – we are all invited to partake from her table. The key to making that journey towards Wisdom is Faith in Christ. It is like having a map for that corn-field. Faith doesn't make us 10-feet tall so that we can always see exactly what is happening. No, faith lets us know where we will end up, because we see things from above, we look up and trust that God is there.
As we have said, it is Faith in Christ is the key to unlocking eternal life. We know this best here in the Mass. Trusting in Christ as God, as setting up a table for us that is full of truth, goodness, and beauty, we are thus filled with God Himself, given to us in this sacrament. And this is the foretaste of eternal life. May our Faith in the Son of God bring us to our goal as we share even now in a foretaste of that gift.