The readings today are a continuation of last week’s Gospel account. In this Gospel, the Jews are starting to realize, in a particular way, who Jesus claims to be. The Jews murmur to one another – “Who is this guy? We know his parents…why is he saying he came down from heaven?” No prophet of the Old Testament ever claimed what Jesus is claiming. Instead of backing down, Jesus presses the issue: “It is written in the prophets: They shall all be taught by God.” What a striking statement! Even though they are beginning to understand, they still don’t comprehend that it is in Jesus that those very words are being fulfilled.
Elijah and Our Bodily Needs
In this Sacrament, Jesus raises the Old Testament reading to its full meaning and potential.The Gospel mirrors that of the First Reading. Elijah is walking in the desert, and wants to give up. An angel comes and leaves him bread and water to sustain him for the journey – a forty-day trek through the desert. It is proof that God will sustain our physical needs – he cares for us. But the bread that Elijah eats is simple bread, nothing more. It sustains him for the journey. It fills his bodily needs. Jesus offers us something more, something new in this Gospel. He full well knows that we need “our daily bread” as the “Our Father” professes, yet he came to give us something more; spiritual life. This requires something else, something that only Jesus can give to us – his own body. He came to give us the spiritual food that will lead us towards everlasting life – the Eucharist. In this Sacrament, Jesus raises the Old Testament reading to its full meaning and potential. Not only do we need physical bread, we need…more. We need Christ.
The Eucharist – The Source and Summit of Christian Life
In this sacrament, we literally become one with God.Our Church understands this intrinsically, and in Lumen Gentium she proclaims that “Eucharistic sacrifice is the source and summit of the Christian life.” It is the Eucharist that brings us closer to God and Heaven than anything else on Earth. In this sacrament, we literally become one with God. Jesus gives himself fully to the world, in the appearance, or accidents of bread and wine, but is truly present – body, blood, soul, and divinity, in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Why is this Sacrament so important to Catholics? Jesus said it best, at the end of the Gospel Reading for this week:
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.Jesus Christ
First Reading: 1 KGS 19:4-8
Second Reading: EPH 4:30—5:2
Gospel: JN 6:41-51
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