NINETEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDI-NARY TIME – 2018
“I AM THE BREAD THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN”
We can agree that the Gospel of John has great insights on the Eucharist. John positions the Eucharistic discourse in the proper perspective that grabs Jesus’ teaching on the Body and Blood of Christ. For a few Sundays now, we have been fed from the Gospel of John, which is centered on the Bread that prefigures the Eucharist. This Sunday, John presents to us a very important aspect of the Eucharist, which has to do with the Divinity of Christ. In today’s Gospel, Jesus perceives the inner thoughts of his audience and calls them out. Only God knows the inner thoughts of man. Where such a privilege exists, it comes from God, it is never from man. In this narrative, Jesus was emphatic that he does not do any work by himself alone, but always in unity with his Father. This message is buttressed by John, when he says that, “Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Stop murmuring among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him, and I will raise him on the last day.’”
When John’s Eucharistic discourse is examined in light of prophet Elijah’s hearth cake, it brings to light the spiritual dimension of the Eucharist, which is the food for the eternal journey. So, why do Catholics hold a great deal of emphasis on the Eucharist? Why are they not contented only by reading the words of the Scriptures, or just with the assembly of the community of the faithful? Why the Eucharist? It is because the Eucharist is the soul of the Church; it is the reason why Catholics congregate as the Body of Christ every Lord’s Day, Sunday, to celebrate the Holy Mass, which is presided by their Parish Priest. This is why they reverence the Lord, it is why they kneel down during the consecration, bow before they receive the precious Body and Blood of Christ. They do all this rever-ential homage because of the ‘Real Presence.’ What does Holy Mother Church mean by ‘Real Presence?’ It is because the Eucharist is not a symbol or something to represent Christ. No, it is Christ himself that Catholics receive at any time the Holy Mass is celebrated. So, in the first reading taken from the First Kings, we were made to understand that Elijah had almost given up his calling and wanted to succumb to human despondence. But, God sent his angel to rescue Elijah. Hence, the angel said to him, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!" He got up, ate, and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.” This is exactly what the Eucharist does for us whenever we receive it. It is always preparing us daily for the eternal journey. The spiritual connectivity with di-vinity is constantly established in the reception of the Holy Eucharist.