This is the third Sunday that features the eucharist. Elijah journeyed for forty days and forty nights to God’s mountain at Horeb, fortified by bread from heaven. This prefigures the Eucharist. Jesus he is the bread sent from heaven to nourish us for life’s long journey. Lets confess failures to appreciate the importance of this for our Christian life..
“I am the living bread that comes down from heaven”, Christ reminds us today, “anyone who eats this bread will live forever”. What a wonderful summing up of the importance of holy communion. Indeed Christ makes no bones about it: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man you will not have life in you”, what a strong statement. We avoid that fate by coming every Sunday for the bread of life. At this sacred gathering He still feeds his people and were nourished in body & soul. This food is food not just for Sunday but the week that follows and life’s long journey.
In the first reading we see Elijah spiritually and physically exhausted. Then an angel brings him bread from heaven, a sign of the Eucharist. We’re told: “strengthened by that food he walked for 40 days & 40 nights until he reached the mountain of God”. People say, “why the mass?”. There’s the answer. Without it we’re easy prey to the world and the devil who’d drag us down to despair. But with it we walk through life’s journey confidently, protected like Elijah, until we reach the mountain of God, our eternal home. Indeed Christ reminds us that in holy communion we’re already part of eternal life and sure to be raised him up on the last day when he comes is glory. What a marvelous gift.
But, as Paul reminds us, holy communion is not just for our benefit. Its given so that we can bear the fruits of good and holy lives for others. It showers us with grace so that we can witness to Christ and all that good before the world. The Holy Spirit we receive in communion enables us, above all, to live charitable lives. Never bear grudges, Paul says, never lose your temper or raise your voice to anyone or call others names. Communion with Christ makes us kind, loving, forgiving. For we grow in the life of the lord we receive; our lives become a fragrant offering to God in goodness, justice, holiness and peace. What great food from heaven! In its power, frail human being though we are, nothing is beyond us. Whereas without it we can die within, go the primrose way to the everlasting bonfire. But with it we’ll never die, for the lord and his Holy Spirit is present in our hearts, making us infinitely greater than we can ever be. You raise me up to more than I can be, the song says. By regular sunday communion we become ever more like the glorious Christ who conquered sin, suffering, death, and every earthly trial. In communion he makes us part of his divine glory, bears our burdens, and enriches us until, as Paul says we become little less than Gods. For we share God’s life, commune with the saints in glory and become one with the local and universal church. Thats why Sunday mass is life and death for us. We gather as the people of God and He feeds us with the bread of life. Thats the only enduring food, for all the things of this world pass away to dust & ashes ar last but in that glorious communion Christ bring us life, love, goodness, happiness, beauty and salvation both for this world and forever and ever, amen. So as God’s own, communion in Christ filling us with glorious life for here and hereafter, lets profess our faith with joy.
Prayers of the faithful
And as the living body of Christ lets pray for what we need..
For church leaders that after the International Eucharistic Congress they may inspire a flowering of eucharistic devotion..
For civic leaders that they may promote the spiritual as well as social and political good of the community they serve..
For our youth that coming weekly to the table of the lord they may walk in its power, in grace and beauty of life here and so eventually reach the mountain of God, and their heavenly home..
For First Holy Communion and Confirmation children, continuing to eat the bread of heaven every Sunday as their food for life, may they grow in wisdom, age and grace before God and men.
For the sick in our parish that by our regular bringing of communion to them they may know the love, grace and strength of God in their suffering, and our deep care for them.
For the dead that they may share the eternal banquet of Christ in heaven, helped by our prayers and prayerful remembrance..
We ask all these prayers through the only Lord of Love, present to us forever in the bread of life, amen.
I see ripe corn in the fields around me here now and its an amazing thing. As Christ says it grows from the tiny seed to first the shoot, then the ear, and then the full grain. Like the fruitfulness of the earth, all the crops that God provides nourishes and cheers our hearts and bodies. But the miracles of nature are ones we can take for granted. Instead of always complaining about the rain or whatever, projecting our discontents onto nature, lets praise the green wonders of the world around us. And above all lets rest in the infinite joy of weekly communion with the Lord of life..Hail Mary