Eucharist: The Gift that Keeps on Giving
When Jesus refers to himself as the “living bread come down from heaven,” do we ever wonder what this really means for us? Jesus is saying so much more than words can ever convey. When Jesus talks about “bread from heaven,” Jesus is revealing His actual mission.
First of all, Jesus is stating why He came down from heaven to walk with us. Specifically, that He came to fulfill the will of His Father. Jesus came because God sent Him to save us.
Second, why is the bread called living bread? Since Jesus comes from His Father, the God of the living, what He brings is life. Our God does not dwell among the dead; He dwells among the living. Jesus, the bread of life, comes down from heaven, rises from the dead on the third day, and now lives with His Father and is here among the living.
Third, Jesus is the Incarnate Son of God and embodies God the Father. What Jesus says and preaches is what the Father says and preaches: love, compassion, mercy, and eternal life. These are sent as gifts to bring us home to our Father.
If we accept Jesus as the living bread come down from heaven, we also accept His Father, and His forgiveness. And finally, when we accept and believe in Jesus we also embrace His Father and gain the reward of eternal life. With our deep faith in Jesus and firm trust in God’s promises, we can always nourish ourselves in this limitless living bread.
However, the faith that Jesus seeks, and His Father desires is not a one time “Yes,” but rather a continual affirmation. We respond by living daily Jesus’ teachings and building God’s kingdom. Our response is to live like Jesus in all we do.
Nourished on this living bread, we can easily stay faithful and we can better trust in God’s promises, especially when our dreams collapse, or praise our God when our dreams come true. Eucharist keeps us steadfast, on healthy sunny days or when the sun seems to hide behind numerous dark clouds.
Eucharist keeps us open to serving in the Lord’s name. When others need help, and we provide it, we fulfill Jesus' quest to seek the one lost sheep. When we see a fainthearted stranger and provide assistance without judgement, we are seeing Jesus.
In these ways, the living bread nourishes us and Jesus lives again through us. Jesus also knows we love Him, because what we do for the least of Jesus' flock, we do for Him.
Jesus invites His followers to feed on Him. He wants us to draw His life into our own everyday living. If we eat His flesh and drink His blood, we become a vessel of grace for others around us. Eucharist becomes complete when we connect with another. And we are living the great commandment: “to love one another, as I loved you” – one person at a time.
O Lord, it is not the various kinds of food that nourish, but your word that preserves those who believe in you! (Wisdom 16: 26)