Daily Reflection April 10 2008: Thursday the Third Week of Easter

Collect of the Day:

Father, in this Holy season we come to know the depth of your love. You have freed us form the darkness of error and sin. Help us to cling to your truths with fidelity.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

Today’s Readings:

First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 8:26-40: If you believe with all your heart, then you may be baptized.

The Gospel: John 6:44-51: I am the living bread down from Heaven.

In today’s Gospel Jesus continues His teaching on ‘the Bread of Life’. He discusses how the ancestors of the Hebrew people were given manna from Heaven yet still perished. He goes on to explain that He is ‘the Living Bread which has come down from Heaven’, and futhermore tells them that ‘Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever’. Although He leaves the most astonishing part of this revelation until last:

“And the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.”

It here in the sixth chapter of St. John that Jesus prefigures what He was to do in the Upper Room on the night before He was betrayed when He instituted the Eucharist.

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for all for the remission of sins.” (Matthew 26:26-28).

And this Eucharist or Great Thanksgiving has become the central act of the Church Catholic ever since. The same flesh which Jesus talked about two thousand years ago to the multitude, the same flesh He offered the night before He was betrayed and the same flesh that became Incarnate in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is still offered for us to partake of today on countless Altars daily the world over.

This teaching of Christ’s to some is a hard saying as we find latter in St. John’s Gospel and is still hard for many to comprehend today. But rather than becoming an obstacle to faith, the Holy Sacrament of the Altar when properly understood becomes one of the greatest signs of Jesus’s love for us. For it is during the Holy Mass that Jesus gives Himself to us fully and completely that we can experience the true Co-Union with Him that Communion represents.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem describes this great mystery in the following words:

“Given to you in the figure of bread is His Body, and in the figure of wine His Blood; that you, by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, may be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us, because His Body and Blood are distributed through our members; thus it is that, according to St. Peter, we became partakers of the divine nature (see 2 Peter 1:4).

It is through this partaking of the Eucharist that we find a great intimacy with Our Risen Saviour, that can in my opinion not be paralleled anywhere else. So with this in mind I invite you to come to the Altar of our Lord and partake of this divine grace where all are welcome and none are rejected.


Closing Prayer:

Almighty, everliving God, make our hearts more open to your love in these days of Eastertide, when you have made known to us the depth of that love. You have rescued us from the darkness of error: make us adhere more firmly to the teachings of your truth.

We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.

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