The Bread of Life
Jesus said to the crowd that was following Him: “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” They asked, “What can we do to accomplish the works of God?” Jesus answered: “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one He sent.” (John 6:27-29)
When the crowd asked Jesus what they must do to perform the work of God, He makes it very clear: your work is to have faith in me – Jesus the Christ. Having faith in Christ means believing who He is, everything He has done, said and taught. Jesus then said: “I am the Bread of Life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” (John 6:35) Among other things, our work is to believe that Jesus is indeed the Bread of Life, who gives Himself to us in the Eucharist.
The most important participation of the faithful in the celebration of the Eucharist does not consist in how well a homily is preached, or how well the word of God is read, or how well the music is played, etc. Our most important participation during Mass is to believe that Jesus, the Son of God, is our actual food and drink; not merely in a spiritual sense, but in a real and sacramental sense.
J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the celebrated book “Lord of the Rings,” was a Catholic. He had a special devotion to the Eucharist; he wrote that in “the Blessed Sacrament … you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that.” He believed the Catholic Church to be the true church because of the place of honor in which it holds the Eucharist.
Reflecting on a time during which he had nearly ceased practicing the faith, Tolkien wrote: “I am one who came up out of Egypt, and pray to God that none of my seed shall return there… I fell in love with the Blessed Sacrament from the beginning – and by the mercy of God never have fallen out again.” Why the reference to “out of Egypt”? In the desert, the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron, saying: “If only we had died at the LORD’s hand in the land of Egypt, as we sat by our kettles of meat and ate our fill of bread! But you have led us into this wilderness to make this whole assembly die of famine!” Then the LORD said to Moses: “I am going to rain down bread from heaven for you.” (cf. Exodus 16:2-4) The bread which God gave to the Israelites was manna.
Then the rabble among them began to crave other food, and once again the Israelites started to wail: “If only we had meat for food! We remember the fish we used to eat without cost in Egypt, and the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now we are famished; we have nothing to look forward to but this manna.” (cf. Numbers 11:4-6)
It is sad to think that many people nowadays say the same things about the Eucharist: we are sick of it, it bores us, it does not satisfy; they wail, they gnash their teeth and they turn to other ‘foods’ – they turn to activities that are fun, things that excite the senses, things that feed the body but not the soul.
The Eucharist is not an activity that the Church invented; nor is it just about fellowship. The Eucharist is fundamentally a gift from God – who gives us His Body and Blood to feed our souls. The effectiveness of the Eucharist does not depend upon human skill or ingenuity to make it attractive or interesting. In order for the Eucharist to take effect in our lives, we only need to make a proper response to this great gift from God – which is to receive it, to be nourished by it and to believe it.
- Attention parents and school children: Faith Formation classes for Grades K-8 will begin on August 29, 2021. If you have not yet registered, please contact Mrs. Long Che Chan.
- Chinese Language classes and English classes will resume in September, 2021. Please stay tuned for further announcements.
- The Icon Drawing class will meet today in the Conference Room.
Back to School Blessing
Dear Lord, bless these children as they begin a new school year. We ask that their guardian angels be ever at their side. Keep them safe from trouble and danger. Help them to be attentive in school and to use their God-given gift of their minds so that they may grow in knowledge, understanding and love. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.