On this final Sunday of our reflections upon the Eucharist, the Gospel presents the most challenging effect of Jesus’ words. Some believed, some were indifferent, and “many returned to their former ways of life and no longer accompanied him.” People leave both Jesus and his Church for a multitude of reasons. I have been told that it is because they just could not accept some teaching or prescribed behavior. Others say it comes from a moment where they feel betrayed or abandoned for one reason or another. Some reasons are very real, and some are contrived. More often than not, this is because sometimes one just cannot accept Jesus in all his divine perfection and his Church in all her human imperfection. Some simply do not want to be challenged in any way, shape or form. Father Paul Bernier reflects upon this:
A true Eucharist is never a passive, comforting moment alone with God, something which allows us to escape the cares and concerns of our everyday life. Eucharist is where all these cares and concerns come into focus, and where we are asked to measure them against the standard lived by Jesus when he proclaimed for all to hear that the bread that he would give would provide life for the entire world. But it will do so, only if finding ourselves with a basket of bread, we have peered deeply enough into the heart of Christ to know what to do with it.
The Mystery of the Incarnation, where the Divine God becomes One with human flesh and takes human form, finds its’ fulfillment at Bethlehem (which means “house of bread”) itself is a sign of the Eucharist. This babe of Bethlehem was placed in a manger, a feedbox for the hungry creatures of the earth. Given the name of Jesus (which means “he will save his people from their sins”) who is the true and living bread come down from heaven. As Saint Paul reminds us, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.”
May the week ahead be filled with every grace and blessing!