Breakfast with the Word Friday Third Week of Easter
Among the saints who developed serious love and devotion to the Eucharist is St. Catherine of Siena. She devotes her life to loving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and spending enormous time with Him. She makes the Holy communion her first food every day before any other food.
Seven years before her death, St. Catherine can no longer eat anything. The more she tries to eat is the more she becomes weak and sick.
But the more she receives the body of the Lord, the more she becomes energized and strengthened. So, for the seven years before her death, St. Catherine only feeds on the Holy Eucharist and miraculously, that could not affect her energy.
She receives extraordinary strength after receiving the Holy communion. And most of her accomplishments were at this time.
Other saints did this, example is St. Joseph of Cupertino who for the five years before his death, feeds only on the body of the lord to receive strength.
The truth is that the Holy Eucharist is the body and blood of Jesus, true and real. When we truly understand what we receive at the altar, we would love to receive the body of Jesus every day.
The gospel today exposes the power of the Holy Eucharist. There is great power in the Holy Eucharist. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, we receive Jesus, when we receive Jesus, we receive healing, eternal life, strength and closeness with the Father. This is only for those who can understand.
The Reality of the Holy Eucharist.
During the temptation of Jesus, Jesus reminds the devil that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4).
Today, one of the words that came from the mouth of God is “if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you”. All this while, Jesus has been discussing with the Jews the mystery of the bread they are seeking to eat.
He gradually leads them into the discussion of the mystery of His body and blood. In the above statement, Jesus reveals the nature of the Holy Eucharist, that it is His flesh. Hence to feed on this holy food is the secret of life.
No wonder the saints loved the Holy Eucharist beyond measure. The truth of the whole discussion was revealed at the last supper when Jesus raised the bread and wine and said “this is my body” “This is my blood”.
“This is” points actually that He is referring to Himself. When you receive the Eucharist, you always know that it is not ordinary bread and wine but truly the body and blood of Jesus. To understand this is to understand the secret of life.
When We do not Understand.
In the gospel today, the Jews were bewildered to hear Jesus asking them to eat his body and drink his blood.
Many could not understand this. And they ask among themselves “How can this Man give us His flesh to eat? Invariably they were understanding Jesus literally.
This is the reason they argue among themselves. Like the Jews today, many do not truly understand it when the church says that the bread and wine that we eat are the body and blood of Jesus Christ. They take it literally and this is the reason many devalue and disrespect the body of the Lord.
When we do not understand the mystery behind the Eucharist, we take it as nothing. Sometimes we receive the Lord while in mortal sin, hence committing sacrilege.
Here we can see the need to put the marriage between faith and reason. Everything is not subjected to the level of logic. There is a limit to where reason stops and faith takes over.
Unless You Eat.
In today’s gospel, Jesus says “unless you eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you”. The greek derivation says “amen amen lego umin ean” (αμην, αμην, λεγω, υμιν εαν) meaning “Amen amen I say to you, if.”
First here we can see that this is not under probability, this is a command. Jesus puts absolute emphasis on that.
Secondly, He attaches a condition to it with the word “if”. Hence to receive the body of Jesus is a command for all the children of God and a way to receive life if they will.
Therefore, this means there is more beyond the Eucharist that we receive. It is not just ordinary bread but food that enriches us with strength for the earthly Journey. He says in the gospel that this food is real and not a fairytale.
When we eat the body of the Lord, He dwells in us entirely. And when He dwells in us, no other power, and no other spirit can affect your life. Hence, at that point, Jesus takes absolute control.
While on earth, Jesus demonstrates power against every demonic spirit, evil spirit sees him and shouts. He demonstrates power against the natural forces of the air and the sea.
He worked great miracles. When the same Jesus lives in you, significant things happen in your life that you may not know. When I write to you about this, it is not just logic to inspire or motivate but am writing from experience.
According to the Catechism, the Eucharist “preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism” (CCC 1392).
In other words, the reception of the Eucharist increases the life of grace already present within us. It increases our spiritual power and strength.
When I was serving in the parish, if I approached a condition that looked likely that the person wouldn’t survive it, I would take it upon myself to feed the sick person with the Holy Eucharist daily and hence asking the Lord to heal the patient.
Many people can testify to this, that many of them did not go to the world beyond as the people expected. The Holy Eucharist is great. Do not play with it.
Whoever the spirit of Christ possesses, is already a man of victory and power. Hence, to receive the Holy Eucharist is to receive life, to receive power and to receive dominion over every living force. There is great power in the Holy Eucharist.
May God help us to understand this mystery and remain close to the Eucharistic Jesus. May He continue to abide in you. Amen.