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.


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.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


 by Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M.

There are several stories about Jesus and lepers in the three synoptic Gospels, but it is the Gospel of St. Luke that brings us the story of ten lepers, nine Jewish lepers and one Samaritan leper.  The life of lepers in Israel was a life of isolation and exclusion.  Lepers were not allowed to have any contact with anyone other than another leper.  They were excluded from their families, the synagogues, the Temple, and were forbidden to enter into any commercial enterprise such as buying and selling.  If they sat on a bench, the bench was considered unclean.

St. Luke writes of ten lepers encountering Jesus.  In order for a Jew to pray, he had to be in a group of at least ten men, a minion.  If there were not ten men present, the men could not pray.  St. Luke, a Gentile himself, is making a point by telling us that this group of ten lepers has allowed a foreigner in their midst.  Though he is a Samaritan, he is included in this minion.  When they encounter Jesus, they beg an alms of him.  Instead of giving them an alms, he tells them to go to the Temple to show themselves to the priests, to be declared clean, to be allowed to reenter society. 

On the way, they are cleansed.  Because he is a Samaritan, the tenth man knows that he is no longer included, is no longer welcome among the Jews.  Because he cannot go to the Temple with the others, he returns to Jesus.  St. Luke tells us that he gives glory to God and that he prostrates himself before Jesus, a gesture of worship.  Using a phrase that we have heard frequently in the Gospels, Jesus tells the tenth leper that his faith has saved him. Every good Jew believed that he could be saved by obedience to the Law.  The nine who go to the Temple were doing so in obedience to the Law. 

They really had no choice in the matter.  The Law prescribed that the only way they could reenter society was through the examination of the priests and the offering of a sacrifice.  They had met Jesus on the border of Samaria.  The journey to the Temple would have taken them days.  However, the Samaritan, no longer welcome in the company of the Jewish lepers, makes his way back to Jesus.  Here he is not excluded; here he is welcomed.

Many a preacher has expounded on the theme of gratitude when this Gospel passage is read.  However, there is much more here than one grateful and nine ungrateful men.  There is, however, something much more powerful lying in wait for us at the end of the story.  Our faith in Jesus is what sets us apart.  We are saved by that faith; for wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he is present among us.


Anonymous said...

LUKE 17: 11-19

11 As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
12 As he was entering a village, ten lepers met (him). They stood at a distance from him
13 and raised their voice, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!"
14 And when he saw them, he said, "Go show yourselves to the priests." 5 As they were going they were cleansed.
15 And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
16 and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan.
17 Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?
18 Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"

19 Then he said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you."

a39greenway said...

The first thing that we must do is recognize that God is working in our lives. We must take time to reflect on His love and mercy in our own lives; once we recognize His works, then we can truly be thankful for all that He does.

Today, reflect on the words by Saint Paul in his letter to Titus.

But when the kindness and generous love
of God our savior appeared,
not because of any righteous deeds we had done
but because of his mercy,
he saved us through the bath of rebirth
and renewal by the Holy Spirit,
whom he richly poured out on us
through Jesus Christ our savior,
so that we might be justified by his grace
and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
(Titus 3:4-7)