"When the Sisters are exhausted, up to their eyes in work; when all seems to go awry, they spend an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. This practice has never failed to bear fruit: they experience peace and strength."-Mother Teresa
Gospel text (Jn 6,44-51):Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”
One of my favorite foods is bread and bread is something that feeds the world. No one ethnicity or country can claim bread for their own or have it unique to their cuisine. All types of bread have the potential to end hunger for a time being, but there is only one bread that relinquishes hunger and allows one to live forever.
The Gospel today discusses the difference between regular bread and the Bread of Life. Jesus tells the crowds that although our ancestors ate the manna, they died. The daily bread that we break cannot keep us alive forever. Jesus is the “The Living Bread” that will allow us to live forever if we believe. Eating the Bread at Communion may not fill a belly up, but it fills an individual with the eternal life and love from Christ.
Today, we sing to the Lord whom we receive the glory and the triumph from. The Risen Lord presents himself to his Church with that «I am whom I am» that identifies him as a source of salvation: «I am the bread of life» (Jn 6:48). The community gathered around Him who is Alive, by way of thanks, lovingly recognizes him and accepts God's instruction, now known as the Father's teachings. Christ, immortal and glorious reminds us again that the Father is the true protagonist of everything. Those who listen and believe live in communion with Him who comes from God, with the only one who has seen him and, thus, faith is the very beginning of eternal life.
The living bread is Jesus. It is not nourishment we receive by eating this “bread” but this “living bread” assimilates us, if received by a person in the state of grace. It makes us feel hungry for God, thirsty for listening to his Word, which is, our heart's rejoicing and joy. The Eucharist is an anticipation of the heavenly glory: «We divide the bread, the medicine of immortality, the antidote we take in order not to die but to live forever in Jesus Christ» (Saint Ignatius of Antioch ). Our communion with the flesh of Christ risen must get us used to all that comes down from Heaven, that is, to beg, receive and assume our true condition: we are made for God and only him can fully satisfy our hunger.
But this living bread will not only one day make us live beyond our physical death, but we receive it now «for the life of the world» (Jn 6:51). The Father's design, who did not create us to die, is tied to love and faith. He demands a present, free and personal reply to his initiative. Each time we eat from that bread, let us go deeper into the very Love! We do not live anymore for ourselves, we do not live anymore in error. The world is precious because there is He who keeps on loving it to the end, because there is a Sacrifice out of which we all benefit, even those who ignore it.
At every Mass, we believe that Jesus changes the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. This same Jesus will change our deaths into everlasting life. Therefore, every Holy Communion, like every day of Easter, is in one way a Sunday, a celebration of the risen Christ.