“I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:51)
On the third consecutive Sunday in Ordinary Time the Word of God invites us to consider Jesus as the bread of our lives. We continue to hear the bread of life discourse from John’s gospel. In this Sunday’s gospel Jesus declares, that “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world.” Bread is synonymous with food. When we pray The Our Father we say, “give us today our daily bread, it means give us today our daily food. So, let us ask one question. What does bread do to our life?
Bread essentially does three functions to life. First of all, bread nourishes human life. Without bread life would come to a grinding halt. It facilities all human activity. It is the source of all our energy. It makes us work and play, sing and sail. It is the essential ingredient of life. Secondly, it not only nourishes our life but also relishes us. We just don’t eat one kind of food always throughout the year. We enjoy different recipes. We try to explore varieties of food and varieties of food add flavor to life. Thirdly, we would not be alive if it were not for food. Bread not only nourishes life but also propagates and perpetuates life. Life continues from one generation to another because of bread.
When Jesus declares that He is the bread of life, He appropriates to Himself these functions of bread. As bread nourishes life, so does Jesus. As bread relishes life, so does Jesus. As bread perpetuates life, so does Jesus. My dear friends, Jesus is the source of our energy. He nourishes us through the Holy Eucharist. He nourishes us with his own Body and Blood through the Eucharistic banquet. Jesus not only nourishes our life but also adds flavor to our life. And finally, Jesus gives us immortality. He tells us this is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.
We have the most personal experience of God in the Eucharist. He comes to us, speaks to us, and touches our hearts. Jesus, “the Bread of Life,” the “living bread,” becomes our bread. Let us appreciate Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist: Since the Holy Eucharist is “the Body and Blood, together with the soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ,” as the Sacrament it increases our intimate union with Christ. It preserves, increases, and renews the Sanctifying Grace we received at Baptism. It cleanses us of past sin and preserves us from future sins. Let us appreciate Jesus who comes to us as bread for our soul and be grateful to him throughout our lives.
Let us ask ourselves, how do we approach this Most Holy Sacrament? How does it change us and make us enlivened each time?
Fr. Kishore Batu SAC
In today’s Scripture reading from the Book of Proverbs, Wisdom inspires the people to forgo foolishness and eat the food and drink that God has “mixed.” This prefigures St. John’s Gospel account where the evangelist further develops Jesus’ theology of sacrifice and His institution of the Holy Eucharist — the true source and summit, strength and unity, of Catholic life. What a tremendous gift! St. Paul, in his Letter to the Ephesians, encourages us to discern the will of the Lord, and to give thanks for everything in gratitude to God through Christ. As Christian stewards, we strive for union with the Lord by regularly partaking in Christ’s Eucharistic banquet. Strengthened by the reception of Holy Communion, we embrace evangelization as we commit to stewardship as a way of life. We do this when we share His joy and peace with our parish community and those brothers and sisters who are in need of our Lord’s message of hope. Besides weekend Mass attendance, try to attend at least one weekday Mass to meet Jesus in the Eucharist.