HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK OF EASTER (St. Justin Martyr)
THEME: Food for the Journey
BY: Deacon Bill Frere
HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY JUNE 1 2022
Gospel – John 17:11b-19
We celebrate today the Feast of St. Justin. Born to educated Greek parents in Palestine around 100 AD, he is one of the first Christian writers and provides us with one of the first written accounts of how the Eucharist was celebrated in the First Century. Included below is part of that account. Amazing how things have remained the same!
“Having ended the prayers, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe, through the name of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, and offers thanks at considerable length for our being counted worthy to receive these things at His hands.
“And when he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all the people present express their assent by saying Amen. This word Amen answers in the Hebrew language to ge’noito [so be it].
And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced, and to those who are absent they carry away a portion.
For not as common bread and common drink do we receive these; but in like manner as Jesus Christ our Saviour, having been made flesh by the Word of God, had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so likewise have we been taught that the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh.” – (First Apology, 66)
Both readings today remind us that we are all on a mission and it is not an easy one. We will face rejection, hatred, ignorance, even abuse for our faith. We will be laughed at and scorned for our beliefs. It is clear that Christian faith demands not just pious prayers but firm action.
We are reminded that we have all been consecrated in the truth and that we have been sent out into the world to spread the Word. Justin Martyr reminds us that Jesus has provided us with food for the journey, Jesus’ Body and Blood! Food for the soul!
Deacon Bill Frere