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.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


God is love. And God created Heaven and Earth to share in His love. God did not create toys to play with or slaves to boss around. He created creatures who could share in His love as equals, so to speak, in love. He gave us His love so that we could be love.

Because of the blindness that characterizes our separation from God, however, we can see nothing but our own self-indulgent illusions. Left to ourselves, we have nothing but an empty world of social constructions to give us comfort. Left to ourselves, we have nothing but pride, and in that pride we are easily deceived by evil. Left to ourselves, therefore, we are lost in slavery to sin. Therefore, only God Himself can show us what true love is.

Now, if God were to appear to us in His full glory, we would surely drop down before Him in terror. But we wouldn’t necessarily love Him. True love, after all, is an act of self-sacrifice offered in free will, not something engendered by fear.
Psychologically, fear refers to a narcissistic concern about possible damage to our pride and safety. In contrast, fear of God refers to our humble awe before God’s great glory and mercy. Thus, whereas psychological fear pulls us away from God, fear of God leads us directly into the embrace of divine love.
So, in order to teach us true love, God chose to show it to us through the life of a simple, poor man—a life which ended with the most humiliating execution known to humanity.

It was as if God said to all bystanders, those present and those yet to be, “If you can love Him, My Son, this humble, broken man hanging in weakness on that cross out of love for you, you can love anything. If you can love anything, you will know true love. And if you know true love, you will finally begin to know Me.”
After all, what, in all its blindness, does human culture tend to value? Well, look at politics, sports, and entertainment and you will see an insatiable thirst for wealth, glamor, power, competition, and revenge. So is it any wonder that to show us true love, and to bypass all human illusions, God came to us in poverty, simplicity, weakness, and gentleness?
Christ took all of the insults patiently and quietly, without retaliation, all so that we could see the truth of the sin in our hearts—and repent it, in sorrow for the pain we cause to each other.

And that’s why Saint Paul said (1 Corinthians 1:23) that the crucifixion of Christ seemed like folly to the Greeks who valued the “wisdom” of natural philosophy; and to the Jews, who looked for powerful prophetic signs, the crucifixion was a stumbling block.

For neither natural wisdom nor power can illuminate their own darkness.

Baptism into Christ, therefore, calls us to a radical change in our being. In the language of computer technology, it’s like saying that true Christian faith is not just an “application” that we can run on our existing “operating systems”; true faith is a process that creates an entirely new operating system.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Illusions of who we think we are—and claim to be—evaporate in a puff of smoke