We Give You Thanks, O Lord For This Wonderful Gift
Readings: 1st: Pr 9, 1-9; Ps 33; 2nd: Eph 5, 15-20; Gos Jn 6, 51-58
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Dioceses of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Today is the twentieth Sunday of ordinary time. For some weeks now, our readings especially, the gospel have continued to tell us that Jesus is the bread of life. This is simply to remind us of the importance of the Holy Eucharist in our Christian life.
The Holy Mother Church teaches that: “The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and, that unity of the people of God by which the Church is kept in being” (CCC 1325). Eucharist means thanksgiving. So, today filled with the Holy Spirit, we give thanks to God for this precious gift.
In our first reading today, God who himself is Wisdom, invites us to his banquet. However, only the humble can appreciate and take advantage of this invitation. Those who are wise only according to the standard of this world cannot understand this mystery. The Eucharist is a special banquet where Christ is both the giver and the gift. Also, He is both the priest and the sacrificial lamb.
In today’s gospel when Christ said: “I am the living bread come down from heaven, anyone who eats this bread will live forever…”, the Jews became enraged. The reason is simple. They were full of pride and lacked true wisdom. They could not comprehend what Christ meant. They refused to be humbled, in order to become wise in the ways of God.
At times, some of us act like the Jews of Jesus’ day. This is by assuming that we can analyze and comprehend this great mystery of Faith only with our limited human wisdom. So, like the Jews, some of us still wonder: “How could He give us His body and blood to eat and drink?” Is Christ really present in the Eucharist?
Hence, Paul warns us today: “Be careful about the sort of lives you live, like intelligent and not senseless people…do not be thoughtless, but recognize the will of the Lord…So that always and every where you are giving thanks to God…” Only intelligent and thoughtful people see and encounter Christ in the Holy Eucharist.
They are the ones who do not doubt that Christ is the living bread of life and is present in the Holy Eucharist. They respond to God’s invitation to have life and real wisdom. They know that, it is the will of God that we should have life in its fullness. They know that this fullness of life is in Christ, the living bread of life.
Some of us might have “seemingly good reasons” for not responding positively to the Eucharistic banquet. However, the truth is that no reason is good enough for not responding to God’s invitation to share from his banquet and true wisdom. No reason is good enough not to accept the life that Jesus freely offers us through the Eucharist. So, let humble ourselves and us heed this very important call from God.
All we need to do is to work on those obstacles that prevent us from receiving the body and blood of Christ. If you still doubt, ask God to illuminate your mind so that you will doubt no more. If you have sinned, seek counsel and reconciliation with Christ through the Sacrament of Penitence. Once again today, the psalmist reminds us: “Taste and see that the Lord is good!”
Peace be with you!