“Sent From Heaven Above”, By Betzaida Sanchez, Fiat Ventures

Flickr User David Eucaristia

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

In this week’s Gospel, we hear of how Jesus explained to crowds that He is the living bread. “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.” (John 6:51). A lot of His listeners at the time were wondering the same thing that many of us might be wondering – what exactly does this mean?

The answer is actually quite simple; it means just what Jesus said it means.  As Catholics we believe that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist (Communion); Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.  I said it was simple…I didn’t say it wasn’t an amazing, transcendent mystery that we’ll never totally understand this side of heaven.  Even more simply, it’s not a question of “What is the Eucharist?”, but rather “Who is the Eucharist?”

Aside from Jesus’ true presence in the Sacrament, there are a number of other things we can take away from this Gospel reading as well.  One is that Jesus came down from heaven, humbling Himself by being born as a man, and then humbling Himself even more to take on the form of bread. Why bread? One beautiful image is that in those days bread was very common and easy to access especially for the poor. The message we can take from this is the humility of Jesus to take on the form of bread, so that anyone may have access to Him. Anyone who chooses to follow Him might have access to eternal life; rich, poor, and from all walks of life.

Over and over again, we see Jesus’s display of humility. GOD, Himself, chose to come as flesh and blood and dwell among us. Not only that, He could have come down and been born into a great royal family, a pharisee, or any person of power or influence. Instead He chose to be poor, and to work as carpenter (though I bet he made some amazing tables and chairs!) If God, Himself, is showing humility, shouldn’t we? Our calling in this life is to be imitators of Christ, so let’s follow His example and examine the areas in our lives where we lack humility.

Another takeaway from this Gospel reading is where we see Jesus say, “whoever eats this bread will live forever”. When we receive the Eucharist, the one who is eternal dwells in us therefore our souls will never die. Last, but not least, Jesus’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday solidified His victory over the enemy and the world. So, does this mean if I receive this living bread, I can overcome anything in this world?

YES. With God’s grace there is nothing we can’t overcome. He gives Himself to us in the Eucharist so that we may be equipped to overcome any thing that comes our way through His Love and Grace. And not that we won’t encounter trials and suffering; but the Bread of Life sustains us through it all and keeps us close to Jesus.  So next time you receive the Eucharist at Mass, remember the importance and the reality of what, or rather who you’re receiving!  And it is not we who consume Him, but rather He who consumes us.

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