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.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Homily from Father Joseph Pellegrino
14 Ordinary Time

14th Sunday: Rejoice in the Power that Brings Fullness of Life.

“Rejoice heartily O daughter Jerusalem.” The reading speaks about the end of all wars. There will be no more chariots or fighting horses. That’s equivalent to tanks and cruise missiles. Sort of. The point is that war will come to an end.

“Excuse me, Father. Have you forgotten about the world wars of the last century, the present wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Africa, the fighting in the Libya and various Arab nations, and all the blood that has been spilt throughout the Christian epoch? How can you say that there is going to be an end of war?”

The war that has come to an end is the war within us, each of us. Look at that second reading from Romans 8. St. Paul speaks about the spirit and the flesh. By spirit he means the power and presence of Christ, by flesh he means the materialistic world that is radically opposed to Christ. The concept that we can live for ourselves, selfishness, is the way of the world. The concept that it is other people’s problem if we use them is the way of the world. The times that we have engaged in actions where Christ cannot be found or the times that we have avoided actions where He is present, we are giving into the flesh.

To get specific: alcohol, drugs, selfish sex, living for the stuff that we accumulate and hoard, and so much more are the temptations that do battle against us. We are all stronger than these temptations because we have the Power of the Lord. The war is really His War, and He will end it and bring us peace. Consider this: when we get into things that destroy us, we are in chaos, or sin. We feel out of sorts, but it is worse than that. Infinitely worse. We experience the destruction of our very being. We are in turmoil. But when we give in to Jesus, and throw out what is destroying us, or stay away from those people or places that are bringing us down, or go to those places or those people who need our love, then we are in peace.

This is the Power of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirt. The very power that raised Jesus from the dead, is dwelling within each of us. There is no reason for any of us to be in chaos, in turmoil. The Spirit is within us and among us. The war is won. At least, it is won if we let it be won. Look, we can’t be buying into the garbage of the world and live in the flesh. No, we have conquered death, actually, He has conquered death for us. Yes, if we live according to the flesh we will die, but if we live according to the Spirit we will live. What force can be stronger than the very power that raised Jesus from the dead? We have this power. We have this Spirt. It is the Holy Spirit. We have found power and peace in Jesus Christ. The war each of us engage in is over...if we let it be over.

All this is really a mystery to the people of the world, particularly to many of the so-called intelligentsia of the world. It is so sad. So many of the intellectual elite are so centered in their own egoism that they cannot see the plain truth when it stands right in front of them, or when the Truth hangs on a cross. They know it all. They are so sophisticated. They are too arrogant to accept the Lord. Jesus was speaking about them when He said, “Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for what you have hidden from the learned and clever you have revealed to little ones.” (Matthew 11:25)
Arrogance kills, particularly, intellectual arrogance. We have to be careful that we don’t fall into its trap. College professors and classmates, intellectually gifted students and associates at work, all attempt to make us feel like fools for believing in Christ. We can’t let them destroy us. Instead, we need to pray for them to see the obvious: peace comes through commitment to Jesus Christ.
We need to go to Jesus. He is not arrogant. He is meek and humble of heart. So we go to Him. We submit to Him. We trust in Him. And the war within each of us is over. We are in peace.

Rejoice heartily, O daughter Jerusalem, rejoice heartily all you people of the Lord, rejoice heartily, for our Savior has come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To be truly great in the kingdom of God one must live life with childlike trust, unquestioning love, and utter confidence in God. We must regain the simplicity of those early years as a child which were free from the selfish speculation found in our adult life.