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, September 22, 2011


By Bishop Anthony B. Taylor

Bishop Anthony B. Taylor delivered this homily June 26 for the feast of Corpus Christi.

When I was in high school a non-Catholic girl once asked me, "Where exactly do you get the blood for Mass?" Obviously she didn't know much about the Catholic faith or that the blood in question is the blood of Jesus, but at least she knew it was blood. You'd be amazed at how many otherwise good Catholics refer to our eucharistic ministers as wine ministers rather than as ministers of the Precious Blood. What you and I receive at Communion retains the appearance and taste of bread and wine, but that's no longer what it is.

By means of the words of consecration, Jesus changes them into his very own body and blood, soul and divinity. And by receiving Jesus really present in this transformed food, you and I are transformed as well into the body of Christ, his blood now flowing in our veins, we become -- in a certain sense -- Christ living and active in our world today.

In_today's_Gospel taken from the much longer Bread of Life Discourse in John 6, Jesus_proclaims_six truths about the Eucharist, 1) which he is: I am the living bread come_down_from heaven, 2) which is his real body and blood: The bread I will give is my flesh for the life of the world, 3) which we eat and drink: My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink, 4) which unites us with Jesus: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him, 5) which thereby gives us life: The one who feeds on me has life because of me, and 6) since Jesus is divine, the life Jesus gives us is eternal: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day.

Thus in the Eucharist we eat and drink Jesus' real body and blood, which unites us with him and gives us eternal life. But every gift looks for a response and even though what we can give God in return is very small, he still expects us to reciprocate, to do for others as he has done for us. And the kind of response God expects is summarized in the two names by which this sacrament is known: Eucharist and Communion.
Eucharist is the Greek word for "thanksgiving" and it refers to the fact that out of gratitude for Jesus' total gift of himself to us, the Eucharist now obligates us to reciprocate by giving ourselves totally to him in return. So when we offer Jesus' body and blood to God the Father in the Mass, we offer our own body and blood too, united to that of Jesus, meaning that we for whom Jesus sacrificed his whole self are now obligated -- out of gratitude -- to sacrifice our whole self in return.
The other word, Communion, describes the effect produced in the community of believers through our reception of Jesus' body and blood, especially when all of us do gratefully reciprocate Jesus' total gift of himself to us, namely Communion with Jesus and each other and all believers everywhere and in every age. That's your commitment and that's God's promise which you ratify when you sing the "Great Amen" at the end of the Eucharistic Prayer and reaffirm when you say "Amen, I agree, I relieve" just before receiving -- gratefully -- the Eucharist, Jesus' real body and blood, in Communion with all your other brothers and sisters in Christ.

Audio from Bishop Taylor's homilies are regularly posted in English and Spanish on the diocesan website. Listen to them at

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