Today’s Gospel: John 6:22-29
Today’s Gospel kicks off the beginning of Jesus’s pivotal sermon known as the “Bread of Life discourse.” For us Catholic Christians, this section of the Bible is vital to our understanding of the Blessed Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
Jesus has just fed the 5,000, and they’re hooked. You can almost hear them saying to one another: “Finally! A meal ticket! No more working for the [Ro]man!” The Lord knows, of course, that they’re only interested in filling their bellies, so He implores them to work for the food that endures for eternal life – the food that He will give them.
Everyone listening to Jesus recalls the story passed down from generation to generation about manna sent from heaven to nourish their ancestors as they fled from Egypt. Perhaps Jesus is talking about providing more manna?
And yet, later in the chapter, Jesus takes things up one extraordinary and supernatural notch: The bread that He offers won’t merely feed people’s bodies – it will nourish, sanctify, and save their very souls.
Jesus says that He is the bread come down from heaven, a bread that will never perish, a bread that will bring eternal life. To gain eternal life, they must eat His flesh and blood. Many of His disciples leave and return to their former way of life because the concept of consuming Jesus’s flesh and blood is impossible for them to accept.
And yet, as Catholic Christians, we know that, in light of the Bread of Life discourse, the Eucharist is the fulfillment of Jesus’s words. It is Jesus Christ – body, blood, soul, and divinity. The Eucharist is the food that endures for eternal life.
How has my belief in the Eucharist been tested and strengthened over time?
Lord, I believe You are present body, blood, soul, and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist. Please help me to share this amazing reality with a world in need.
Copyright 2019 Heather Renshaw
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