… “I am the living bread” (Jn 6:51)
In the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ we celebrate one of the greatest mysteries of our faith: our Lord’s living presence in the Eucharistic species. His Body and Blood, together with his Soul and Divinity: “the whole of Christ’s truly, really and substantially contained in that bread and wine” (Council of Trent, DS).
Our Lord promised He would have remained with us every day: “I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Mt 28:20).
During the last supper, when the first holy Eucharist took place, He also left us these words: “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” and “this cup is the new covenant in my blood poured out for you” (Lk 22:19-20).
We believe that, during the Mass, the whole substance of the bread and wine is transformed into the Body and Blood of our Saviour through his own words, which are uttered by the priest. The priest pronounces these words, but their power and grace are God’s.
Saint Ambrose says: “Could not Christ’s word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change existing things into what they were not before?”, so “the power of blessing prevails over the power of nature”.
Therefore, dear friends, when we feel it hard to recognise Jesus’ divine presence in the Holy Eucharist, we need to put aside our senses and rely on faith: this mystery “cannot be apprehended by the senses, but only by faith, which relies on divine authority” (saint Thomas). God’s authority is trustworthy, and we believe that He is the Truth, that He cannot lie!
I sometimes think: what a strange way God chose to remain among us! Why bread and wine?
Then I find myself pretending to be wiser than God…! No man can never be as wise as the Creator of all things!
However, there is one thing that helps me to understand this mystery. When I consider Christ’s sacrifice, I realise that as Jesus so willingly suffered in his body such terrible pains and death, in the same way He is also taken, broken, given, even chewed in the Holy Eucharist, for our salvation.
As He descended into death and rose again, He comes to the depth of our innermost self, to those corners of our soul that are still in the shadow of sin and death, to bring light, life, love and salvation.
Such a god is our God, indescribably meek and humble!
“I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51)
“He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him” (Jn 6:56).
“Remain in me, as I in you. Remain in my love” (Jn 15: 4.9)
Let us firmly believe in our Saviour’s words, which are full of love and really come true, and let us adore Him in the Blessed Sacrament, the sweet Sacrament divine.
Lord Jesus Christ,
You gave us the eucharist
as the memorial of your suffering and death.
May our worship of this sacrament of your body and blood
help us to experience the salvation you won for us
and the peace of the kingdom
where you live with the Father and the Holy Spirit
one God, for ever and ever.