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THE BREAD OF LIFE
2012 London Summer Olympics
19th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR B
Today, as the 2012 Summer Olympics in London culminates, people are going to miss the hours spent on TV watching the games and talk about how they were moved by certain athletes, who have shown greatness and sportsmanship in their own fields like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt to name a few. But just like the rest of us, they too, are humans who have human needs. They could get hungry, thirsty, get tired and get hurt.
Healthcastle.com gives us a list of top 5 Super foods for the athletes: 1. Oatmeal; 2. Yugort; 3. Blueberries; 4. Sweet Potatoes; and 5. Salmon. But these super foods are purely for physical satisfaction. We have with us super food which does NOT ONLY give us physical but spiritual power as well. The super food we call “the Bread of Life” is a food that doesn’t just go into our stomach. It never perishes, but continues to move us in the best possible way at least spiritually speaking. To elaborate, hear this story:
The night after winning the heavyweight boxing title from Jess Willard, the new champion Jack Dempsey woke up in his hotel room. It was two o’clock in the morning. Suddenly he felt terribly empty inside. He said later, “Success didn’t taste the way I thought it would. I’d won the championship. So what? In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us: “Do not work for the food that perishes but for food that endures for eternal life.” (Fr. Mark Link, SJ, Illustrated Sunday Homilies)
But the question us: How does our super food, the Bread of Life move us?
1. We are moved to become “Bread” and “Wine” for others. It might be hard for us to understand how we become “bread” and “wine” to others but as we partake of the bread, the Body of Christ and the wine, the Blood of Christ we become more like Him. “You are what you eat,” when you eat of the bread and drink of the wine we come to share in the divinity of Christ and become one like him sharing His paschal mystery, his passion, death and resurrection. As Jesus shares His Person to us, we too, are called as His followers to sacrifice ourselves for others as Christ did.
In a very interesting story, President Woodrow Wilson’s father was a preacher who eked out a meager living. One day, when he was riding his horse, he stopped to chat with a member of his parish. “That’s a handsome looking animal you have there,” said the latter admiringly. “But why is that your horse is so big and you are so thin?” “Perhaps,” replied Wilson, “It is because I feed the horse and the congregation feeds me.”
When we eat the Bread of Life, we are called put to practice the very life of Christ, who sacrificed even his life to save us.
2. We are moved to come to a fuller appreciation of Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Christ is present BODY, BLOOD, SOUL and DIVINITY in the Blessed Eucharist. The Fathers of the Church explain this truth that, while ordinary food is assimilated into man, the very opposite takes place in Holy Communion. Here man is assimilated into the Bread of Life calling us to receive it with due reverence, true repentance, proper preparation and grateful hearts.
What sort of preparation do we do to receive him? How reverently do we receive him in the Eucharist? Upon receiving him, do we spend sometime in prayer and silence thanking God for such honor receiving him in the Eucharist? How do we participate actively in the one-hour Eucharistic celebration? The real presence of Christ is not something that was made up by the Catholic Church. It is a dogma that has been tested through time, which demands our faith and devotion.
3. We are moved to see God’s love vividly expressed in the Holy Eucharist. Blessed John Paul II once taught: “The Eucharist is the sacrament of the presence of Christ, who gives himself to us because he loves us. He loves each one of us in a unique and personal way in our practical daily lives: in our families, among our friends, at study and work, in rest and relaxation. He loves us when he fills our days with freshness, and also when, in times of suffering, he allows trials to weigh upon us: even in the most severe trials, he lets us hear his voice. To celebrate the Eucharist, ‘to eat his flesh and drink his blood,’ means to accept the wisdom of the cross and the path of service. It means that we signal our willingness to sacrifice ourselves for others, as Christ has done.” Ecclesia de Eucharistia
In other words, as we receive him in the Blessed Eucharist we are given a special task, a mission to do what Christ did on the Cross – to surrender ourselves and to dedicate our lives to service in SELFLESS LOVE.
Now, look at this fact: According to a US News and World Report Poll, nearly 6 in 10 Americans believe the world will end or be destroyed, and a third of those who think it will happen within a few years or decades. In addition, this same poll found that 44 percent believe the world will face the Apocalypse, with true believers whisked off the planet and called into heaven. Almost half, 49 percent, said they believe there will be an Anti-Christ. Our “Post-Modern Age Culture” is coping with Armageddon. Do Christians buy into the doomsday mentality and its accompanying spirit of apathy and inevitability? We can be so fixated on the Jesus who is to come that we do not see or hear the Jesus who is in OUR MIDST on the altar in the consecrated bread as our heavenly bread or Jesus living in the unwanted, marginalized and the poor.
This Sunday, let us LOOK BACK and re-evaluate our ways of seeing Christ in the Eucharist. What has the Eucharist to do with us? If we know who Christ is in the Eucharist, as we receive him, we will come to fully yearn for the nourishment he gives to us in the Bread of Life who is Christ HIMSELF! No other super food, and I mean NOTHING ELSE can move and satisfy us than the Bread of Life we receive in the Eucharist. Do you believe this? THEN, LIVE IT!