There is story about St. John Vianney. Every day, one of his parishioners came to the church and sat there for a long time looking at the Tabernacle. Once St. John Vianney went up to him and asked, “What are you doing?” The parishioner replied simply, “I look at Jesus and Jesus looks at me.” In today’s Gospel, the second Sunday on the sixth chapter of John, the Bread of Life discourse continues.
In the first reading we see grumbling and complaining Israelites. They were excited first because they just moved out of Egypt, and God has given them freedom. Soon they found it is not an easy journey to freedom. They started to grumble and complain. Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you.” God gave food for the journey. Again they saw the providence of God. Today’s Gospel passage takes place the day after Jesus had fed the five thousand people with five barley loaves and two fish. People kept coming, not because they wanted to hear Jesus’ teaching, but because they saw an awesome miracle: five thousand people were fed from five loaves and two fish.
Jesus used their desire to eat to raise their need to an infinitely higher level. He told them that they seek food that perishes, but that he could give them food that never perishes. They spoke about the manna that God provided in the days of the Exodus, and Jesus told them that the bread the Father gives is greater than manna. This bread doesn’t just satisfy physical hunger, but gives life to the world. They asked for this bread, and Jesus said that he is the bread of life. “Whoever comes to me will never hunger, whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
We see in the first reading, in the midst of their struggle and grumbling in the dessert, he fed them and satisfied them. The Eucharist is food for our journey. The Eucharist is not going to give you everything, but it gives us strength to walk in the most difficult times. In the difficult moments we don’t have to ask where God is because he is hanging on the cross next to us. The Eucharist is our union with Jesus’ offering Himself to the Father for us. We need the Eucharist as our spiritual food. The Eucharist is the very Body of Christ.
The Eucharist is not just food for our journey, it is also the end of our journey, heaven. What does heaven look like? The heavens, saints, and angels are in full communion with God. At every Mass, heaven touches the earth. All saints and angels are present at the Mass. We can see only bread, but in the Eucharist, Jesus gives himself. In the Gospel, Jesus said, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world."
The Eucharist is a meal: participation in His Body and Blood, sacrifice; participation in Jesus’ offering of his body on the Cross and Eucharist is thanksgiving. Jesus gives himself up and thanks the Father, and we, who receive Jesus in Communion, give thanks to God for His Son. Let us celebrate joyfully this gift of the Eucharist.
Thank you: I would like to join St. Anthony Parish and Finance council to thank Jim Litwaitis for sharing his time and talent for years for our bookkeeping. Thank you, we appreciate your generosity to our parish.
Welcome: I would like to join St. Anthony Parish and Finance council to welcome Murrin & Associates, LLC, Accounting & Tax services, who will be doing our bookkeeping. Jerry Murrin is our parishioner.