Today we get a very keen look at the kind of faith Jesus invites us to have when He says in today’s Gospel: “I am the Living Bread come down from Heaven… My flesh is the real food; my blood is the real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks by blood live in me, and I live in him.” Each time we receive Holy Communion we have an opportunity to give witness to our faith in these words of Jesus. Hearing today’s Gospel might be a good time for us to reflect on our attitude toward the power of the Eucharist to transform our lives. We receive Holy Communion because we are supposed to be changed by it. The Eucharist is given to us to have an effect in our lives. The celebration of the Mass is the center of all our prayers in the Church. It is the most important thing we do as Christians. But do we always see it this way?
If our reception of Holy Communion seems to be lacking something, maybe it’s because we have allowed it to become routine in our lives. Maybe it’s because we have allowed it to become an event that we “attend” and don’t allow ourselves to become involved in or transformed by it. We can begin to answer these questions by thinking about how prayerful we are before and after receiving Communion. What goes through our mind and heart before and after receiving the Body of Christ? Do we speak to Jesus as a friend? Do we give Him thanks, ask His forgiveness, and talk to Him about our problems? Many people go through life without any knowledge of this incredible gift. An even greater tragedy is for people to know and understand this gift and not to appreciate it; people who have made receiving Holy Communion a lifeless routine. I always look forward to First Holy Communion Day at our parishes. It is so gratifying to see the excitement on the children’s faces and the joy they radiate realizing that for the first time they will receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. I always challenge those at these Masses to recapture the excitement and joy of the children.
Today we come to be fed at the Lord’s Table with this tremendous gift of the Eucharist. May our words and actions today reflect our appreciation for this tremendous gift.
God bless you always!
Fr. Jim Volkert