We, as a Church are in the midst of four consecutive weeks proclaiming and hearing once again the “Bread of Life” discourse from the Gospel of John in which Jesus teaches about himself as the true bread come down from heaven. The discourse begins with the multiplication of loaves and fishes; the miracle of having enough food for all who were present and even more in the twelve baskets left over. The message being that in Jesus there is enough food to nourish and sustain an unlimited number; for all who believe in him and partake of his body and blood will be gifted eternal life with the Father.
As we read and hear this discourse it is clear that what Jesus is teaching is an essential element of being his disciple. For Catholics the Eucharist is central to our faith in Jesus Christ. The Church defines it as the “source and summit” of all that we do. If asked what distinguishes Catholics from other Christian denominations most will pronounce our firm belief in the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist; that through the Holy Spirit and by the grace of the sacrament of Holy Orders the priest delivers to us the real Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
So how firm is your belief in the “real presence” of Jesus? Is our Eucharist simply a re-enactment of the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper? Is the Eucharist central to your being Catholic? What, if anything, causes doubt in your mind or heart in regard to the Eucharist? Have you grown through faith in Jesus Christ and what he himself taught so as to accept his teaching about the Eucharist; that what we consume is truly his Body and Blood?
If you struggle at all with this, you might identify with the people of the time of Jesus who struggled with the image of consuming flesh and blood. It is not something that we understand as “normal” and indeed is not. It is incredible! It is a miracle; an act of God through Jesus. It is truly a gift that we need only to open our hearts to receive! It is a gift that can change our lives as it draws us closer, in fact, into one with Jesus. United with Jesus, we can only imagine how our lives might be blessed and we can live joyfully knowing eternal life is ours through him.
As we gather for the Eucharist let us pray in thanksgiving allowing the gift of the Real Presence to bless our lives and fill our hearts with the love of God. Let us realize the awesome gift we are so privileged to receive:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever;”
In Christ Jesus,
He Would Love First!
October 24, 2020
A July Faith Formation Series – Part IV – APOSTOLIC