REFLECTION FOR TODAY
April 22, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” Jn. 6:51
What hope we have in Jesus! As Christians, we are drawn and united to His life, in which we find meaning and hope for our own lives. The crowd were in search of something physical, something material and to be precise, bread to satisfy their body’s hunger. When Jesus made it clear that He had something better, food that endures to eternal life, they began to complain.
Their own judgement of what is good blinded then to a higher wisdom that declared life eternal to be the crucial need of all. Stuck in their own thinking they were unable to be drawn by the wisdom of God. So, when Jesus was stirred up the emotions of some within the crowd. They began to ridicule Him because He had said that He was the “bread that had come down from heaven.” As a result, Jesus began to speak even more clearly and shockingly. He then went even further and said that He is not only the “living bread that came down from heaven” but that those who want to “live forever” must also eat His “Flesh.”
How would you have reacted to such a statement if you were among those within the crowd? Consider the fact that you would have recently seen, with your own eyes, the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes. Therefore, you would have realized that Jesus was someone special, to say the least. But how would you have reacted to this statement of Jesus, “and the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world,” if you had heard it spoken at that time? Most likely, your reaction would have been the same reaction that you have right now to the teaching of the Most Holy Eucharist.
Many who heard Jesus speak this way may have thought it was a bit of an unusual thing to say. Some would have reacted strongly, while others would have reacted with indifference. But some would have had an entirely different reaction. Some would have heard Jesus speak these new and shocking words, would have realized that they did not fully understand what He meant, but would have believed deeply on account of the gift of faith. Somehow, they would have known, in the depths of their consciences, that they did indeed need to eat the Flesh of Him Who came down from Heaven since He was indeed the Bread of Life.
Believing in the Eucharist, in the fact that these tangible and visible gifts of the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood are, in fact, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Eternal Son of God, can only happen through the interior and transforming gift of faith. How else can you believe such a teaching? How else could you believe that these words in today’s Gospel have come true? And that the reception of the Most Holy Eucharist is the pathway to eternal life? The gift of faith in the Most Holy Eucharist is the one and only way to understand, accept and deeply believe what our Lord has spoken in this Holy Gospel.
Reflect, today, upon Jesus speaking these most holy words for the first time: “…the bread that I will give is my Flesh for the life of the world.” As you prayerfully reflect upon these words, ponder how deeply you believe them. How deep is your faith in the Most Holy Eucharist? The Eucharist is the fulfillment of this passage, and our divine Lord invites you to not only believe in His holy words but to allow this truth to transform you in ways beyond what you could ever imagine.
My Eucharistic Lord, You are truly the Bread of Life, and all those who eat Your Flesh and drink Your Blood will inherit eternal life. I do believe this, dear Lord. I believe that the Most Holy Eucharist is You, Your Soul and Divinity, given to me so that I can share in Your holy life. Give me the grace I need to deepen my faith in the Most Holy Eucharist so that I will be drawn more fully into the joys of Your Eternal Kingdom. Jesus, I trust in You.