Bread of Life

BREAD OF LIFE
 this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. (john 6: 50)
The miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him. Jesus Christ celebrated the first Mass with His disciples at the Last Supper, the night before He died. He commanded His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). The celebration of the Mass then became the main form of worship in the early Church, as a reenactment of the Last Supper, as Christ had commanded. Each and every Mass since commemorates Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. Because the Mass “re-presents” (makes present) the sacrifice on Calvary, Catholics all around the world join together to be made present in Christ’s timeless sacrifice for our sins. There is something fascinating about continuing to celebrate the same Mass—instituted by Christ and practiced by the early Church—with the whole community of Catholics around the world…and in heaven.

THE REAL PRESENCE

Why does the Catholic Church believe Christ is really present in the Eucharist?
The Catholic doctrine of the Real Presence is the belief that Jesus Christ is literally, not symbolically, present in the Holy Eucharist—body, blood, soul and divinity. Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist because Jesus tells us this is true in the Bible:

“I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them,

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him” - John 6:48-56
Furthermore, the early Church Fathers either imply or directly state that the bread and wine offered in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is really the body and blood of Jesus Christ. In other words, the doctrine of the Real Presence that Catholics believe today was believed by the earliest Christians 2,000 years ago!

This miracle of God’s physical presence to us at every Mass is the truest testament to Christ’s love for us and His desire for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.

Friday, November 19, 2010

THE MERCY OF GOD TO A PEINTENT

by Linda O'Brien

The Mercy of God to the Penitent

from St. Maximus the Confessor

God's will is to save us, and nothing pleases him more than our coming back to him with true repen­tance. The heralds of truth and the ministers of divine grace have told us this from the beginning, repeating it in every age. Indeed, God's desire for our salvation is the primary and preeminent sign of his infinite good­ness. It was precisely in order to show that there is nothing closer to God's heart that the divine Word of God the Father, with untold condescension, lived among us in the flesh, and did, suffered, and said all that was necessary to reconcile us to God the Father, when we were at enmity with him, and to restore us to the life of blessedness from which we had been exiled.

He healed our physical infirmities by miracles; he freed us from our sins, many and grievous as they were, by suf­fering and dying, taking them upon himself as if he were answerable for them, sinless though he was. He also taught us in many different ways that we should wish to imitate him by our own kindness and genuine love for one another.

So it was that Christ proclaimed that he had come to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous, and that it was not the healthy who required a doctor, but the sick. He declared that he had come to look for the sheep that was lost, and that it was to the lost sheep of the house of Israel that he had been sent. Speaking more obscurely in the parable of the silver coin, he tells us 'that the purpose of his coming was to reclaim the royal image, which had become coated with the filth of sin. You can be sure that there is joy in heaven, he said, over one sinner who repents.

To give the same lesson, he revived the man who, having fallen into the hands of brigands, had been left stripped and half-dead from his wounds; he poured wine and oil on the wounds, bandaged them, placed the man on his own mule and brought him to an inn, where he left sufficient money to have him cared for, and promised to repay any further expense on his return.

Again, he told of how the Father, who is goodness itself, was moved with pity for his profligate son who returned and made amends by repentance; how he em­braced him, dressed him once more in the fine garments that befitted his own dignity, and did not reproach him for any of his sins.

So too, when he found wandering in the mountains and hills the one sheep that had strayed from God's flock of a hundred, he brought it back to the fold, but he did riot exhaust it by driving it ahead of him. In­stead, he placed it on his own shoulders and so, com­passionately, he restored it safely to the flock.

So also he cried out: Come to me, all you that toil and are heavy of heart. Accept my yoke, he said, by which he meant his commands, or rather, the whole way of life that he taught us in the Gospel. He then speaks of a burden, but that is only because repentance seems difficult. In fact, however, my yoke is easy, he assures us, and my burden is light.

Then again he instructs us in divine justice and goodness, telling us to be like our heavenly Father, holy, perfect and merciful. Forgive, he says, and you will be forgiven. Behave toward other people as you would wish them to behave toward you.
A certain Franiscan ponders on this greatest attribute of God: His infinite mercy. Never does Our Lord say no to a sinner who asks for forgiveness. Never. It is not even possible. No soul must ever despair of His great forgiveness and mercy; to even think along this liine is a great temptation of the devil and we know he is a liar.
What heart can fathom the love of a God who came to earth to make atonement for His wayward children? God became Man so that by His suffering and death, we could be redeemed!And as if that were not enough, He remains with us under the form of a small Host so that He can continue to unite Himself with His beloved children. Such a One never says no to a soul who turns to Him.

And yet so many say no to Him! No thanks to the Church, no thanks to the Sacraments, no thanks for confession or for the Holy Communion that makes us one with our Savior. And mostly it is not even 'no thanks' but just NO. Just no. No to His ways and the embracing of sinful pleasures. Why are we so blind to the goodness of God? Our human frailties make it so easy to say no.

This Lent, this day, may we say yes. Yes, Lord, I need Your mercy. Yes, Lord, I am too weak to keep my resolutions. Yes, Lord, without You hope is diminished. Yes, Lord, to all You are doing in my life. Help me, Lord, help me to say yes.

3 comments:

Mrs. A said...

Yes! God is so good! It's not about my religion. It's all about Jesus and having a close and personal relationship with the Father because of the precious blood of Jesus poured out for us all! We love him because he first loved us. He helps us to walk in His ways because of His tender loving mercies! Hallelullah! His grace is all sufficient for me.(2Cor12:9)

Michael Gormley said...

Dear Mrs A,

The Bible Reminds Us

Praying and worshipping mainly out of conviction (as opposed to routine or fear), is what it means to have a “personal relationship with Christ.”

On the one hand, we know that he knows us and is interested in our life (“I no longer call you slaves… I have called you friends… It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go out and bear fruit…” (John 15: 15-16).

Or, as St Paul put it, “I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20).

And on the other hand, we put forth our own effort to follow his example and teaching, as a way to stay close to him, accept his invitation to become a disciple, and participate in his great project of building up the Church for the glory of God and the salvation of souls: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments…” (John 14:15).

Christianity is about knowing, loving, and following a person, Jesus Christ. The essence of our religion is a personal relationship of faith, hope, and love.

Mrs. A said...

Everything you said makes sense and it's Biblical. I watched a video that scared me.The guy said when you get up to the great white throne of judgment you better present Jesus' righteous life to God and not your own.

http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/audio-video/view-video/archive/2008/august/19/greggs-story-part-1-1/

There is also a part 2

http://www.nogreaterjoy.org/audio-video/view-video/archive/2008/august/19/greggs-story-part-2-1/

I apologize if the link doesn't work. Scriptures like Philippians 3:8,9 and also Isaiah 64:6 do get taken out of context among Christians I am barely noticing.