Week Two (Day 3) – The Bread of Life
May the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you!
For so many people, the fact that they are not able to attend the Eucharist and receive Holy Communion is one of the major sadnesses of this time. It has made many people realize just how important the Eucharist is in their lives.
It’s here we encounter Jesus: in his Word, that is read to us and that we take into our lives as the foundation of our lives; in the Church, the community gathered in prayer without the support of which a life of discipleship is somehow so much less manageable; and, in the most intimate way possible, in the sacrament of his Body and Blood.
Our Bishops and Church leaders have recommended that we make, as often as we can, a “spiritual communion”. So today, in union with countless other followers of Jesus praying with us, let’s make a “spiritual communion”.
We can begin by listening, in a quiet and meditative way, to words from St John’s Gospel in which Jesus speaks to those around him, and speaks to us, about the Bread of Life. In the sixth chapter of St John’s Gospel we read….
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.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. (John 6:53-59)
Now let’s reflect together on the meaning of the Eucharist with a verse from the hymn, Adoro Te Devote, written in the thirteenth century by the Dominican, St Thomas Aquinas, poetically translated by the Jesuit, Gerard Manley Hopkins.
O thou our reminder
Of Christ crucified,
Living Bread, the life of us
For whom he died,
Lend this life to me then:
Feed and feast my mind,
There be thou the sweetness
Man was meant to find.
Let us pray ….
Lord Jesus, you are the Bread of Life, may we always hunger for your word, for your presence in our lives, for the peace you alone can give, and for the courage and confidence you inspire and without which in these times we cannot live as your disciples in the world. May we never forget you, never walk away from you, but always trust in you and stick close by you and may we long to be united one day with you for ever. Amen.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.