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Browsing Reflections Archive

April 22, 2021

Daily Reflection for Thursday April 22, 2021
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,

We encourage you to reflect on Thursday’s readings at this link: CLICK HERE

If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Acts 8:26-40
Responsorial: Psalm 66: 8-9, 16-17, 20
Gospel: John 6: 44-51

Our reflection on Thursday’s readings:
“I am the bread of life.” John 6:48

This phrase is repeated so often in our Catholic existence.  We hear it recited in Mass readings, in homilies, or even in song.  In fact, I start humming the tune to the famous hymn we sing so often during Communion every time I even repeat this phrase.  Sometimes I find that these famous lines from Scripture lose their punch because they’re so familiar and I sometimes miss out on what God is trying to say to me.  It saddens me that I’ve so often overlooked such a beautiful passage and one that is extraordinarily crucial to our faith life and our salvation.  Of course, Christ is speaking of the Eucharist and His sacrifice for us, but I never really considered why Jesus chose bread as the object that would be miraculously transformed in the Mass into His flesh and blood. 

His sacrifice and how we commemorate it was framed around a substance so crucial to existence in the ancient world that it is hard for us modern Americans to comprehend with the endless culinary possibilities and abundance that we have to choose from today.  Yet the ancients, especially those in the Mediterranean and Middle East, were especially dependent on bread.  An average citizen of the Roman world that Jesus inhabited got the majority of their daily calories from eating several pounds of bread each day.  It was considered so fundamental and critical to people that Egyptian Arabs use the word “aish” for bread, which is the same word for life.  I’ve seen reports that smaller tribes in modern day Iraq and Iran also use similar terms.

Just as bread was so important to daily existence that it literally was referred to as life, so Jesus Himself is for us.  This is the main point of His message today.  We need Jesus to have life, both physically and spiritually.  By consuming Christ in the Eucharist, we attain eternal life.  But the Eucharist isn’t just a symbolic act as some Christian denominations believe.  In the elements transformed by a mystery of faith, Christ becomes present in that bread and wine.  To us, in our world of plenty, the wafer of unleavened bread may not have the same earthly meaning that it held to people in the ancient world when Christianity was founded, but its spiritual meaning has not changed a bit.  We must partake to achieve eternal life and enter into a communion with the rest of the body of Christ.  It connects us to one another and to Jesus as we bring Him into our very being. 

Today let us give a prayer of thanksgiving not just for our physical sustenance, but our spiritual nourishment as well.  Thank you, God, for the grace of your gift of the Living Bread in the form of your Son and we give thanks that Christ willingly makes Himself available for us whenever we go to Him in the Mass. 

Peace and blessings,
Pete Kuester


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