Reading 1: Acts 8:26-40
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 66:8-9, 16-17, 20
Gospel: John 6:44-51
Today’s readings highlight two of the greatest sacraments we celebrate, Baptism and the Eucharist, and truly opens a road map to the grand design of our Catholic faith that God has planned for us. These two sacraments allow us to experience our Catholic faith in a much deeper way than earthly ideologies, they show the all-encompassing plan that the Lord and Savior has for us, God gave his only son to pass on a way, to pass on the truth. This personal “way” starts for each of us at our entrance into the faith, Baptism, and can be renewed every day/week at mass through the Eucharist, due to God’s selfless sacrifice to give of his only son for our salvation.
Let’s set the record straight this isn’t the Gospel reading where we see the sacrament of the Eucharist fully handed over to us, because that happens at the Last Supper. But this passage pre-emptively points to the grand design of our faith, and how we can truly find eternal happiness with God the Father. Christ says, “I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world”. To truly eat this bread we must willingly take the step to believe in God the Father and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ while also actively pursue a life reflective of Christ’s model of love and the commandments. Jesus’ analogy to bread in this chapter sets the scene for the Last Supper to come where he truly teaches us the Liturgy of the Eucharist.
God isn’t just present in the Eucharist though, we must remember that God is present in each and everyone of us, this presence tied together from one person to another is what we refer to as the Mystical Body of Christ. We must remember that the Eucharistic Body of Christ and the spiritual union of the Mystical Body of Christ are in unison, it is one body, and one identity. That is the beauty of this passage, and something that many tend to miss when analyzing it, God gives us the body, and calls us to participation in God’s will. That participation or “eating of the bread” is the only way for us to spread true joy, or allow for Christ’s sacrifice to imbue “the life of the world”.
Let us remember that the love and reverence we have for the Eucharistic Body of Christ must also be present in our interactions with the Mystical Body of Christ. Let us be as Phillip in the first reading, a herald of the good news with compassion, wisdom and understanding. When I struggle with this I turn to the word’s of the Lord’s Prayer for guidance, remembering always that through our daily lives, God calls us to follow his will with reverence and make his kingdom a reality on this Earth.