THE MOST PRECIOUS BODY AND BLOOD OF OUR LORD
9th SUNDAY In Ordinary Time
I Reading Gen: 14: 18-20
II Reading I Cor: 11: 23-26
Gospel Lk: 9:11-17
Scott Hahn is a former Protestant minister and now an internationally recognized Catholic theologian and apologist. In his autobiography ‘Rome Sweet Home’ he described his journey to the Roman Catholic faith.
As a Protestant minister, he always thought that the Catholic Church had greatly erred in its teachings and in its doctrines. Once he was giving a series of lectures on the Gospel of St.John. The Presbyterian Church to which he belonged always taught that Jesus spoke symbolically when He spoke about His Body and Blood in the sixth chapter of St.John’s Gospel. The Presbyterians believed that there was no Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.
Scott Hahn who was preparing a series of lectures on this particular chapter of St.John’s Gospel, was bafﬂed at the reaction of some of His disciples who ceased following Him because they found His teaching difficult to digest. When Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my ﬂesh (6:51)”, some of the disciples disputed among themselves saying, “How can this man give us his ﬂesh to eat?” Then Jesus reiterated again, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the ﬂesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (6:53).” Later, many of His disciples stopped following Him because of His teaching about His Body and Blood.
Scott Hahn argued this way: if Jesus only spoke symbolically, as the Protestant Churches teach, then He would have immediately called those misunderstood disciples and corrected them. But He never does that. In fact, He affirmed it not less than six times in the same chapter that only by eating His flesh and drinking His blood will one have eternal life. Jesus is truly, really and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. This convinced Scott Hahn of the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding the Real Presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. He was received into the Church at Easter in 1986.
Today, we celebrate the feast of the Most Precious Body and Blood of our Lord. It is the feast of the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Eucharist, Jesus is truly, really and substantially present. Talking about His Real Presence, Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever (Jn 6:51).” Today, may we pray that the Lord may guide us to meditate on Jesus as the bread of life.
1) Jesus Is The Bread Of God
Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world (Jn 6:32-33).” And Jesus affirmed that He is that Bread come down from heaven. He is the Bread of God, the divine Bread. The Father gives Jesus as the Bread in the Eucharist; He is the food for our souls; He is the Bread of God’s family, His children’s Bread.
Jesus the Bread of God had come down from heaven. As God, He had His being in Heaven. And when He came down, He came down with the power of God.
2) Jesus Is The Living Bread
Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven (v.51).” Bread in itself is a dead thing. It requires human faculties to digest and assimilate it; it nourishes and cherishes life only because of human faculties. But Christ is the living Bread and He nourishes by His own power. Manna was a dead thing; the Israelites were directed to collect only what was needed for that day, for if it were kept more than one night, it would putrefy and breed worms. But Christ is the everlasting Bread, who neither putrefies nor waxes old. He is ever new, ever living and never old.
3) Jesus Is The Life Giving Bread
Pope John Paul II was a great lover of the Eucharist. During one of his trips abroad, he said, “Even if the hunger of every man and every woman were to be satisfied by the labor of his or her hands or by the generosity of others, yet the deepest hunger of man would still exist. Therefore, come to Christ. He is the Bread of life.” Jesus is the Bread of life, who gives not only spiritual, but also eternal life. He once said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven whoever eats of this bread will live forever (Jn 6: 51).”
Manna only satisﬁed physical hunger and supported life, but it did not preserve and perpetuate life. But Christ, our Manna, gives life to those who are dead in sin. And He offers this life to all those who believe and accept Him as their Savior.
May we come to this sacred table, often, so that we may receive Jesus who is the living, life giving Bread of God.