REFLECTION | Feast of Corpus Christi: ‘I am the Living Bread’

June 18, 2017 - 10:07 AM
Reflection file photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon.

Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the loving Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
—John 6: 51-58

Today, the Church commemorates the solemnity of the Corpus Christi (Latin, it means the Body of Christ). The body of Christ is the living bread from heaven which he gave to us as his ultimate oblation during the last supper.

The body of Christ in a form of bread should be shared with everyone so they may have life. And when one eats the body of Christ, he/ she will live in the Lord and will have life eternal until the last day. The assurance of Jesus to the people that if they will live their lives in accordance to God’s will and will take Jesus as their bread of life, they will be with God forever.

Every organic being eats. Eating is a very important biological activity in life in order to live. One cannot live without eating. In our gospel reading, Jesus had made a very intriguing remark which provoked the Jews to react. There was confusion that led to a quarrel among the Jews especially those who heard Jesus’ exhortation about himself. The image of the living bread from heaven is absurd for them. And whoever would eat the bread will live forever as the bread would sustain him/ her till the end of time.

Jesus is the bread of life. Jesus declared that He is the living bread that came down from heaven. The living bread is referred to Jesus’ flesh, his body to be eaten by those who want to live forever, and his blood as the drink. This statement was not acceptable to the Jews as it was blasphemous for one to claim that he is from God and to declare that he is living bread from heaven. The bread that gives life and sustains life, unlike the bread that the ancestors of the people of Israel who ate manna (food) in the wilderness but died. It is because they have not known God fully well as they murmured and always complained.

The gospel reminds us of the Eucharist, the memorial celebration of Jesus’ offering of his body and blood so we may live. The Lord Jesus had instituted the first Eucharist (mass) during the last supper in the upper room when he asked his disciples to remember him every time they come and dine and break the bread. Jesus had offered himself as a living sacrifice so they may live in him. Jesus offered himself as the bread and wine which became his body and blood that is shed to save and to restore the broken relationship between God and the people. During the communion in the Eucharist, everyone is invited to receive Jesus in the sacred host and be transformed in him.

Every time there is a Eucharistic celebration, the Body of Christ is made accessible and available to us if we go to celebrate the Eucharist as a community of faith, hope and love. Corpus Christi is not just a memorial celebration but an experience of God’s love, a sacrament (living sign) on how “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to save the world.”

The Eucharist is a celebration of God’s immense love for us who gave us the bread from heaven.  Let us then receive Jesus in our lives; in our families, circle of friends; in the workplaces, groups and communities where we are, for only then that we all live forever as Jesus himself becomes our very life.

Let us pray, reflect and ask ourselves:

Do I believe that Jesus is the living bread from heaven?

Am I only a Sunday mass goer/ spectator/ attendee only, or a real Sunday mass celebrant?

Do I celebrate my faith in community worship like the Eucharist which is the highest form of prayer?

How frequent do I receive Jesus in the holy communion?

Does the holy communion make me a better person and believer?

Do I believe that God had saved me that is why I am living in His grace?

Do I firmly believe in the resurrection of the body and everlasting live?

Almighty and Ever-living God, your love for us is immeasurable and unfathomable. You sent your only son to save us and restored us to life. And everyday, we receive Jesus in the communion and in your Word. May we be worthy homes of Jesus’ body and blood and share Jesus with those who are hungry and thirsty for God. May we become like Jesus every time we receive Him in the Eucharistic communion. This we as ask through Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Let us pray for those who are hungry and thirsty for truth and justice, those who are starving and suffering because of men’s greed and hatred. May the body and blood of Christ be their source of strength and hope. May the living bread from heaven—Jesus be our salvation and peace. Let us pray for peace, especially in Marawi in our country, may we be converted in Jesus the Prince of peace and learn to follow the way of peace in dialogue and in our compassionate actions.