“Five-Week-Gospel Forecast: Bread from Heaven”, By Rachael Flanagan, Fiat Ventures

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

We have entered into a very long stretch of Sunday Gospels that center around one very important thing: Bread. “How could we possibly spend so much time on bread?!” one might ask (potentially one of my many gluten-free friends). Easy. We are not just talking about pumpernickel or garlic knots – we are talking about some seriously special “bread” – the Eucharist. It is one of the biggest mysteries of our faith. And you don’t even have to stop and think about it too long before you come to the conclusion that it is one of the most bizarre and even (dare I say) – shocking aspects of our faith. What was once bread and what was once wine, mystically change into the Body and Blood of Christ. God himself. And Jesus tells us that whoever eats this Bread will have eternal life. With most things in life, what you see is what you get. But not here. Quite the opposite in fact.

How about the fact that we get to take this into our bodies. I don’t know about you, but my body did a lot of laying around today, and if I’m honest – eating a whole bag of chips (I was eating my feelings – don’t act like you’ve never done it.) The point is, my body didn’t do anything particularly worthy of carrying the Son of God. If we took a quick tour through the Old Testament, we’d witness a fancy ornate box called Ark of the Covenant being carried around the desert by only a select group of Israelites who were deemed worthy to carry it – and within the box were some very special items. But these items had either been provided by God, or touched by God. You’ll notice that none of these items were God Himself. Somehow, Jesus Himself deems us worthy to be a living Ark of the Covenant when we receive Him in the Eucharist.

All of that is barely scraping the surface of this “Bread” topic. We could spend the rest of our lives in contemplation of this shocking and bizarre mystical reality. Fortunately, we have a lot of saints and figures in Church history, who have lived out their belief in this reality in incredible ways. Father Walter Ciszek, a Polish-American priest, was imprisoned during the Cold War and placed in solitary confinement for 5 years in a Russian prison, followed by 15 years in a brutal labor camp. During these excruciatingly difficult years, Fr. Ciszek and another priest would reserve a small portion of bread from their food to consecrate, and they got some wine made by prisoners from raisins, so they were able to receive and adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. During this time, he lifted up the intentions of people throughout the world, and knowing he was close to the God who could never be separated from him, he maintained not only his sanity and sense of self (while most in his position lost all hope) – he never lost his priesthood and ability to bring Christ to others. He held Masses, heard the confessions of his fellow prisoners, and even taught hymns to his own guards. Apparently, they had to keep changing the men who guarded him because he kept converting them to Christianity. Fr. Ciszek was finally released in a prisoner exchange after 20 years of confinement.

So next time you are in Mass or the presence of the Eucharist – think about the incredible power veiled beneath the appearance of bread, and how it can provide strength and grace to you in even your most difficult situations – and the bizarre and shocking reality that God comes to you in the flesh.

Tags: , , , , ,

Connect with Us

See our latest posts on Facebook and Youtube

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply