Here is an interesting conversation …
… between two friends – Isa and John
Isa, an intelligent and faithful Muslim expressed an interest in understanding the faith of his Catholic friend John and asked him to take him for the Holy Mass.
After the Mass, John asked Isa what he thought of it.
Very slowly and thoughtfully, Isa said, “Do you Catholics really believe that thing, that small piece of bread , is not bread but Jesus Christ?”
“Yes, we do” said John
“Your Church teaches that God is really present there?”
“The priest at the Altar said, body and blood, soul and divinity. You really believe all that?” came the next curious query from Isa.
“Yes, we do” replied John, growing defensive.
Isa then made as if to say something, but refrained from saying it.
John assured him that he would not be offended.
Finally, hesitatingly, Isa said, “I don’t really understand your faith!”
With a relief, John calmly said, “I can understand how you feel. It sounds very shocking, I know”
“No, you don’t understand. That’s not what I mean. You will take it as an insult, but I don’t mean it to be”, explained Isa.
“I promise that I will not take it as an insult. But I really want to know what is on your mind.”, clarified John
“Well then. . . . I don’t think you really do believe that. I don’t mean to say you’re dishonest, but . . . .”
“Hmmm… I think I know what you mean. You can’t really understand anyone who believes something so shocking.
You don’t see how one could ever get down on one’s knees before that altar, right?”
“No” enlightened Isa, “I don’t see how I could ever get up.
If I believed that little thing that looks like an ordinary round of bread was really Allah Himself, I think I would just faint.
I would fall at His feet like a dead man!”
Those words hit John like a lightening.
Here was a man, not of his faith, but who seemed to truly understand the mighty power of the Little White Host – the Holy Eucharist!
• He had been a Catholic all his life.
• He had been receiving the Holy Communion for many years.
But never before had he ever thought that the Eucharist could actually be so powerful!
Is my Catholic Faith, in the Holy Eucharist, in the lines of John…
… believing yet not really passionate
… professing faith, but not fully convinced
… theoretically doubting and practically not living
The Gospel of the Day is a continued discourse by Jesus, on the Bread of Life and is a strong reminder to revive, refresh and renew our Faith in the Lord – especially in the Most Holy Eucharist.
The Gospel passage begins with the verse, “The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said, ‘I am the bread which came down from heaven'” (Jn 6:41)
We notice here a sharp change in attitude and approach of the people..
• At the start of the Chapter, when Jesus had multiplied the bread and the people had their satisfied fill, they were extremely excited, enthusiastic and energized with respect to Jesus. (Jn 6: 1-15)
They were overawed by His spectacular miracle
They were keen to crown this “Bread-Giver” as their King
• But as we progress through the Chapter, we observe that the people are antagonized and annoyed by the words of Jesus that ‘He is the Bread from Heaven
They were scandalized by His comparison to being greater than even Moses, whom alone they had considered to be the bread-giver in the wilderness
They were lethargic and disinterested in accepting the teaching of Jesus because they knew of his earthly origins and his family background
The result: Jesus, the Bread of Life failed to be understood and be accepted!
• Their hardheartedness and their supposition that “they knew Jesus” prevented them from accepting the Bread of Life!
• Their unwillingness to be open to the truth and their pride in failing to realise that Jesus was someone who transcended earthly ties, caused them to be blinded in receiving the power of the Bread of Life!
Do these factors prevent us also from understanding and accepting Jesus, the Bread of Life in the Most Holy Eucharist?
Am I being ignorant of the teachings of the Church and thus fail to realise the depth and the worth of the Holy Eucharist?
Do I feel that “I know a lot of things” and that the teachings concerning the Holy Eucharist are just “not reasonable” or “do not sound logical” or are “too childish”?
Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is the greatest treasure, the mightiest force and the most supreme source of love on the earth.
But how many of us really make efforts…
… to strengthen this faith?
… to grow in this awareness?
… to nurture this conviction?
St John Maria Vianney said, “If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy”
Every participation in the Holy Eucharist ought to make us die…
Perhaps, physically we are yet to attain that height of sanctity
But we ought to die…
… to our sinful ways of life
… to our pride and other vices that can cripple us
… to our selfish desires that denies giving the Lord the prime place in life
As Catholics, we profess and take pride that we have a Living God, “truly, really and substantially” present in the Holy Eucharist.
Can we live a life worthy of this Blessed Presence?
Can we be truly zealous and passionate in our love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist?
St Francis de Sales says:
“When the bee has gathered the dew of heaven and the earth’s sweetest nectar from the flowers, it turns it into honey, then hastens to its hive.
In the same way, the priest, having taken from the altar, the Son of God (who is as the dew from heaven, and true son of Mary, flower of our humanity), gives him to you as delicious food.”
May Jesus, the Bread of Life, present in the Holy Eucharist inflame the sparks of our faith and may it blaze briskly, in devotion and service!
God Bless! Live Jesus!