Reflections for the Week
In the bread of life discourse Jesus is proposing something that has the ultimate bearing on our destiny itself. “In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the
This is a sure sign of “abiding” in the Lord - a communion with him. Holy Communion is the food of eternal life. Receiving the Eucharist day after day without knowing its true value might make us cold and indifferent
towards this Most Holy Sacrament. The man or woman of faith sees bread and wine, which are the flesh and blood of Jesus. The person who does not believe sees only bread and wine.
By eating the flesh and blood of Jesus, a believer remains united to God’s life (Jn 6:57). Jesus is the food and drink that provides eternal life, just as bread and wine provide nourishment for earthly life.
People of the past ate the “bread that came down from heaven” - the manna - but they died. By eating the flesh and blood of Jesus, people can now live forever.
Each time we receive the Eucharist, we are truly receiving Jesus and he comes to abide in us and make our lives more enriching and holy.
All the saints have realised the value of Holy Communion. How do we approach this Most Holy Sacrament? How does it change us and make us enlivened each time? Or are we cold and indifferent towards Holy
God’s Word Fr Joe Eruppakkatt SSP & 365 Days With the Lord Fr Mark G Boyer
God's Greatest Favour
Napoleon Bonaparte once told a friend that the happiest moment of his life was when, as a boy, he received his first Holy Communion. His family and friends in the church on that day would have been astonished to learn that this smiling child would one day become the emperor of France and the conqueror of Europe. It would have been far beyond their understanding.
The listeners around Jesus centuries before were also astonished when they heard him say that he would give his body and blood for the life of the world. It was beyond their earthly knowledge and wisdom.
In the second reading St Paul urges the Christians at Ephesus to understand what is God’s will for them and so become a people of joyful gratitude. Neither understanding nor gratitude were in the minds of Jesus’ listeners. They protested in disbelief, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ People ever since have asked the same question.
To the Jews at the time of Jesus, “body” meant the entire person and “blood” referred to the life in the person. When Jesus speaks of giving his body and blood he means the complete gift of himself. By means of his creative word he can do what he says. As the divine Son of God he can change bread and wine into his body and blood. Behind this miracle of power there is the greater miracle of his love that wishes such an intimate union with his believing people. Jesus made the astounding claim, “I am the bread of life.” It was also a great prophecy. He would be “the bread of life” for those who believed in him and accepted his words. Just as bread sustains physical life, so he would sustain the spiritual life of his followers. Not only the heroism of martyrs and missionaries but the simple courage and goodness of millions of ordinary people across the world and throughout the ages testify to Jesus’ words.
At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “This is my Body… this is my Blood.” From that day onwards, in every celebration of the Eucharist, Jesus would by his divine power change bread and wine into his Body and Blood. Under these humble appearances he himself would enter into believers and feed their souls with his own divine life. It is a mystery so strikingly at odds with this world’s expectations that only faith can accept it. The Lord reveals his mysteries to those who believe and trust in his word.
Holy Communion is God’s greatest favour and blessing to us on earth. It is the family meal of Christians and our bond of peace. It helps a believer to grow in a personal relationship with Jesus and brings families closer together. Although the act of receiving Communion is the work of a moment it can have the lasting effect of putting the believer into a state of union with God. Jesus gives himself to believers so that they in turn may offer their lives to God.
One of the ways we can show our appreciation for this great gift is by preparing for it well. It is all too easy for us, who are fortunate enough to be able to receive the sacrament regularly, to begin to take it for granted. How often do we think about what an astonishing privilege it is to be offered Christ’s Body and Blood? How carefully do we prepare ourselves to receive it? How heartfelt are the thanks we offer to the Lord for this great gift? And how do we let it affect our lives outside the walls of the church each week?
People differ widely in upbringing, temperament and taste. Communion has a healing effect on all types, bringing us out of too much self-concern and into a life of togetherness with Jesus. Christ dwells within us and shares the daily round of existence, its joys and difficulties. The life of Christ within us helps us to face every challenge that comes until that sublime moment when we shall see the risen Jesus in heaven. Then there will be no humble appearance of bread and wine but a glorious meeting face to face.
The Living Word Redemptorist Publications
Catholic Way of Receiving Holy Communion
In the dioceses of Australia, standing is the most common posture to receive Holy Communion, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling. When approaching to receive Holy Communion, bow in reverence of the Sacrament you are to receive [GIRM 160]. A common posture and gesture helps to symbolise the assembly’s unity in Christ and also helps the Communion procession to flow smoothly.
(continued next week)
Rejoice & Be Glad
Jesus does not say, “Blessed are those who plot revenge.” He calls “blessed” those who forgive and do so “seventy times seven” (Mt 18:22). We need to think of ourselves as an army of the forgiven. All of us have been looked upon with divine compassion. If we approach the Lord with sincerity and listen carefully, there may well be times when we hear his reproach: “Should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?” (Mt 18:33). Seeing and acting with mercy: that is holiness. (GE 82)
Gaudete et Exsultate Pope Francis
Fr Bill's Thoughts