Written by Sr. Rosemary Finnegan, O.P.
Readings from: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/050719.cfm
Perhaps some of you, like myself, were fortunate enough to experience the 2nd graders receiving their very First Communion these last two weekends. If you weren’t there, you can imagine it. Precious 7 year olds…girls dressed in their beautiful white dresses and boys in their grown up looking suits that, I’m sure, have been hanging and waiting in their closets for weeks. Most impressive, however, was the children’s reverence, their calm anticipation, and their fervent awe as they opened their little hands and held the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time. It was surely a special moment not only for them, but for all who witnessed this sacred occasion. They came to Jesus, and Jesus came to them.
In our gospel from John, we continue to hear Jesus trying to teach the crowds that indeed, he is “the Bread of Life”. All he wants them and us to do is believe and ‘come to him’, just like our precious First Communicants came to Jesus so recently. Jesus tells the crowd that whoever “comes to me will never hunger.”
To “come to Jesus” is to bond ourselves closely to him and all he stands for. It means believing in him, imitating his life, studying his teachings which the scriptures reveal, and, finally, witnessing his ways to others.
Jesus’ words and teaching about his body and blood are central to our Catholic faith, our Catholic identity. We truly believe that Jesus is really present with us and nourishes us when we celebrate Eucharist together. The bread and wine are changed, transformed, into the Body and Blood of Christ, and we are privileged to ‘come to Jesus’.
Perhaps Jesus’ words in today’s gospel should cause us to pause and ask ourselves:
- How deep is my belief and understanding of the Eucharist, this “Bread of Life”, in my life?
- How am I being transformed through Eucharist?
- When Mass is over, how do I live out Christ’s mission?
Our First Communicants are just beginning their experience of ‘coming to Jesus’ by celebrating and receiving Eucharist. May we imitate their eagerness, awe, and gratitude to God for this greatest of all gifts.