23rd April 2021

Jesus replied, "I am the bread of life.


Reading 1: Acts 9: 1-20 The persecutor Saul encounters Jesus on the Damascus road and is forever after a changed man, destined to become a very great apostle.

Gospel: Jn 6: 52-59 Jesus’ hearers do not understand how he can give his flesh to eat. He does not explain how. He simply demands faith.


The Church invites us today to reflect on the bread of heaven that nourishes us. The Gospel helps us understand the true meaning of the Eucharist. For the Jews, eating someone’s flesh was a scandalous thing. Therefore, when Jesus said “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you,” they were shocked and furious as they did not pause long enough to reflect on his words and try to understand what he meant.

Jesus uses the language of eating and drinking to show us that we must become those who ingest Him, who seek to take all of Him into us. The food that we eat is assimilated and it becomes part of us. It is transformed into our flesh. Jesus says that he is the bread. It means that he must be eaten, must be assimilated. It is his very existence given up for us that must become our existence. One does not eat the Eucharist bread just to be closer to Jesus. No. He is always close to every individual. Nor do we participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice just to ask for favours, taking the advantage of the fact that Jesus has come to visit us. This is a devotional way of understanding the Eucharist.

Receiving Holy Communion, i.e. the body of Christ means accepting to identify ourselves with him. It is to offer up ourselves to him so that he can keep living, suffering, giving himself up, and rising again in us. This transformation into the person of Jesus is what is expected of us through the receiving of Jesus in the holy bread.

The manna which was provided to the Jews in the wilderness did not transform them into spiritual persons; their focus was solely the satisfaction of their material needs. But we must allow the bread that Jesus gives to transform us, just like the Samaritan woman, who allowed herself to be transformed by him. May we allow ourselves to be transformed as well, by Christ, the bread from heaven.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 117: 1-2 (Mk 16;15) Go into all the world, and proclaim the Gospel

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