18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (B):
JESUS, THE BREAD OF LIFE FROM HEAVEN.
THE FRUITS OF HOLY COMMUNION.
Today’s Sunday readings remind us about:
- Man’s aspiration for something which will give him security and stability in his life as we see in the 1st reading (Ex 16: 2-4. 12-15) in which the Israelites grumbled and complained of their hunger in the desert which led God to give them manna from heaven which satisfied their hunger but did not free them from their daily uncertainty and insecurities. The mana was a prefiguration of something which is to be definite, the Holy Eucharist, the Bread of Life, which Our Lord sends from Heaven.
- The difference between the manna and the Holy Eucharist consists in that the latter, Jesus Himself, satisfies man’s deeper aspirations and profound spiritual hunger for security and gives him the stability he seeks in his life. “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst (Jn 6:35).”
- Furthermore, the Bread of Life, which we receive in Holy Communion, the Author of grace, leads us to a EUCHARISTIC COHERENCE: a pledge in our daily struggle “to put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth. (Eph 4: 17. 20-24)”
On this regard, we can briefly review THE FRUITS OF THE HOLY COMMUNION, following the points of the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1391-1397:
1391 Holy Communion AUGMENTS OUR UNION WITH CHRIST. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an INTIMATE UNION WITH CHRIST JESUS. Indeed, the Lord said: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.” Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: “As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.”
1392 WHAT MATERIAL FOOD PRODUCES IN OUR BODILY LIFE, HOLY COMMUNION WONDERFULLY ACHIEVES IN OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE. Communion with the flesh of the risen Christ, a flesh “given life and giving life through the Holy Spirit,” PRESERVES, INCREASES, AND RENEWS THE LIFE OF GRACE RECEIVED AT BAPTISM. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.
1393 Holy Communion SEPARATES US FROM SIN. The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is “given up for us,” and the blood we drink “shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins.” For this reason THE EUCHARIST CANNOT UNITE US TO CHRIST WITHOUT AT THE SAME TIME CLEANSING US FROM PAST SINS AND PRESERVING US FROM FUTURE SINS:
1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so THE EUCHARIST STRENGTHENS OUR CHARITY, WHICH TENDS TO BE WEAKENED IN DAILY LIFE; and this living charity WIPES AWAY VENIAL SINS. By giving himself to us CHRIST REVIVES OUR LOVE AND ENABLES US TO BREAK OUR DISORDERED ATTACHMENTS TO CREATURES AND ROOT OURSELVES IN HIM:
1395 By the same charity that it enkindles in us, THE EUCHARIST PRESERVES US FROM FUTURE MORTAL SINS. THE MORE WE SHARE THE LIFE OF CHRIST AND PROGRESS IN HIS FRIENDSHIP, THE MORE DIFFICULT IT IS TO BREAK AWAY FROM HIM BY MORTAL SIN. The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of mortal sins – that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church.
1396 THE UNITY OF THE MYSTICAL BODY: THE EUCHARIST MAKES THE CHURCH. THOSE WHO RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST ARE UNITED MORE CLOSELY TO CHRIST. THROUGH IT CHRIST UNITES THEM TO ALL THE FAITHFUL IN ONE BODY – THE CHURCH. COMMUNION RENEWS, STRENGTHENS, AND DEEPENS THIS INCORPORATION INTO THE CHURCH, ALREADY ACHIEVED BY BAPTISM. In Baptism we have been called to form but one body.230 The Eucharist fulfills this call: “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread:”
1397 The Eucharist COMMITS US TO THE POOR. TO RECEIVE IN TRUTH THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST GIVEN UP FOR US, WE MUST RECOGNIZE CHRIST IN THE POOREST, his brethren:
You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your brother,. . . . You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of sharing your food someone judged worthy to take part in this meal. . . . God freed you from all your sins and invited you here, but you have not become more merciful (St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 27, 4: PG 61, 229-230; cf. Mt 25:40)
Dear friends, let us thank Our Lord for His total love and self-giving especially in the Holy Eucharist. May we have this desire to receive the Bread of Life frequently and with the best interior dispositions.
Mother Mary, Eucharistic Woman, pray for us your children so that
we may love Our Lord more and better in the Holy Eucharist.
A Happy Sunday to you and your loved ones!
-Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei. CATHOLICS STRIVING FOR HOLINESS.
PHOTO SOURCE: holymassimages.blogspot.com