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.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “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. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
What is the deeper meaning and value of the regular reception of the Eucharist for Christian life? In offering his followers his body and blood under the appearances of bread and wine, Jesus is challenging them to a new way of life It should be a life lived in obedience to God the Father and in service to one’s fellow human beings.
If Jesus has given his all for the sake of those whom he reveres and loves, then a Christian should live the same way: in obedience to the will of God the Father and dedicated service to other human beings, beginning with family and friends but ultimately extending to the entire human community. “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10/28). Resurrection and eternal life after the death of the body will automatically follow if you decide to imitate Jesus as “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
—Fr. Joseph Bracken, S.J. is an emeritus professor of theology at Xavier University, Cincinnati, OH
God our Father, gifts without measure flow from your goodness to bring us your peace.
Our life is your gift. Guide our life’s journey in service to one another,
for only your love makes us whole. Amen.