Acts 7:51 — 8:1a
Ps 31:3cd-4, 6-8a, 17, 21ab
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
The crowd said to Jesus:
“What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you?
What can you do?
Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written:
He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
So Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven;
my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven
and gives life to the world.”
So they said to Jesus,
“Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life;
whoever comes to me will never hunger,
and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
Good News Reflection: The healing power of the Eucharist
In the Gospel reading today, Jesus makes himself known as the “bread of life”. What does it mean to be bread? And how does that affect life?
The practicalities of providing communion to large congregations make it necessary to use little flat wafers of bread for the paschal meal, but they don’t seem very bread-like. In the early years, Christians celebrated the Lord’s Supper with bread that looked like bread and they broke off their own pieces after it became the Body of Christ. We’ve forgotten some of the rich meaning behind sharing the “breadness” of the Eucharist.
During the consecration prayers, Jesus comes to us fully, with all his humanity and divinity, in a form that we can touch. We can hold him. We can kiss him. We can consume him into our physical beings, and by uniting ourselves to him, we are consumed by him and our lives become his life (if we don’t reject that life the moment we walk out the door). Such an encounter with God should change us every time!
Why then doesn’t every Catholic who receives Communion leave Mass transformed? Since we’ve received the fullness of Jesus himself, it seems that no matter how little we’ve paid attention, we should be holier than when we came in.
Before Jesus distributed the Passover bread to his disciples, he broke it. It was the brokenbread that he gave when he said, “Take and eat. This is my body, which will be given up for you.” We are, in fact, transformed when we become aware that we are uniting ourselves to the brokenness of Christ.
It was in Christ’s brokenness that he delivered us from evil. Therefore, it is in our brokenness that our humility unites us to Christ, it is in our brokenness that we become free from the power of evil. A broken spirit is ready to depend on God instead of self. A broken heart needs the love that no human, other than the divine Jesus, is perfect enough to give. A broken family is forever wounded unless Jesus becomes the center of each person’s life, and when we want reconciliation but the other person refuses, we give our broken hearts to the perfect love of the only One who can heal us.
Recognizing our brokenness is what begins change within us. Accepting the blessing of our brokenness is what empowers the change. And offering our brokenness to the Lord — to be used in loving service for others, like Jesus — is what completes the transformation.
This is what it means to truly receive Jesus, the bread of our life, in the Eucharist.
For more on this or to teach this to others as a catechist, please visit Catholic Digital Resources:catholicdr.com/powerpoint-packages/christs-true-presence/
Lord, give me enough wisdom to discover You every day as the nourishment and support of my life. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica