April 24, 2015
Friday, 3rd Week of Easter
1st Reading: Acts 9:1–20
Gospel: Jn 6:52–59
The Jews were arguing among themselves, “How can this man give us flesh to eat?” So Jesus replied, “Truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood live with eternal life and I will raise him up on the last day.
“My flesh is really food and my blood is drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood, live in me and I in them. Just as the Father, who is life, sent me and I have life from the Father, so whoever eats me will have life from me. This is the bread which came from heaven; unlike that of your ancestors, who ate and later died. Those who eat this bread will live forever.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
Those who heard Jesus offering his body as real food and his blood as real drink were provoked. They thought he was either talking figuratively or cracking a big joke. If he was talking figuratively, they could have taken his statements lightly. But even this they could not do; they walked out of the conversation, they just felt they had to. The offering of one’s body as food in public, was too disgusting even as a “by the way” topic. The culture of the Jews frowned upon contact with blood as unclean. “Out of his mind” Jesus appeared to all of them. Despite the big walk out, however, Jesus stood by the literal meaning of his words and did not flip over.
This same teaching is the basis our Catholic faith in the Eucharist. The species become Christ at the words pronounced by the priest. Yes their appearances remain earthly and not divine; bread looks real bread and wine looks real wine. From the practical side we see wisdom in this arrangement. The contrary would have put human beings in serious predicament. If the externals of wine and bread should change too, civilized people would consider lining up for communion a big taboo.
There are two facets of change that can happen at the realm of earthly reality. A thing can either change substantially or accidentally. When you were small you were cute and likeable. As a grown up person you have become “acute” and “like-a-ball”. But the change is only accidental. You are still substantially you even if you now look like your favorite pet animal.
The species consecrated at Mass change substantially. The substance of bread gives way to the substance of Christ’s body. Similarly the substance of wine gives way to the substance of Christ’s blood divine. In this “transubstantiation”, the sacred species cease to be what we see. It becomes Jesus spiritually nourishing you and me. To an unbeliever this is too good to be true – God within reach of ordinary humans like me and you. But God had ordained it to be so. He wants to be there wherever we go.- Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, increase our faith in the Holy Eucharist so that nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ we may grow in love for one another, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: St. Benedict Menni was Born in Milan, Italy on March 11, 1841. He decided to enter the Hospitaller Order of St. John of God in 1860 through four interventions: a spiritual retreat when he was 17 years old, the advice of a hermit of Milan , his daily prayer before a picture of our Lady, and the example of the Brothers of St. John of God caring for the wounded soldiers. In 1866, he was ordained a priest. He began restoring the extinct Hospitaller order in Spain. He had created 22 large centers like homes for needy people, general hospitals, and psychiatric hospitals. He died in 1914 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1999.