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And the word became Eucharistic bread

Today’s gospel takes up the last verse of last Sunday’s. It is an important verse, because it marks the passage in the speech of Jesus, from the bread of heaven, understood as word, as the wisdom of God, to the theme of the Eucharist.

Eucharist—that really makes Christ present—does not replace faith in his gospel. This is fundamental and indispensable. 

Communion is not a ritual magic, as it were the rites performed by the initiates in the pagan mysteries.

It is not a drug that acts automatically and gets the healing of the sick even if he or she is unconscious.

It is not correct to think that to receive the grace of the Lord, it is enough to make many communions. 

Jesus did not recommend to do many communions, but to eat his flesh and drink his blood.

 The Eucharist has no effect, if it is not received with faith, that is, if it is not an expression of the inner decision to accept Christ and to allow him to animate the entire life. 

Before receiving the Eucharistic bread it is always necessary to read and meditate on a passage of the word of God. 

Those who agree to become one person with Christ in the sacrament, must first know his proposal for life. A contract is not stipulated without having attentively read and evaluated all the terms.

 The history of the present Eucharistic celebration begins thus. Immediately after Easter, Christians felt the need to celebrate the founding event of their faith, the death and resurrection of Christ. 

They did not have to invent a ritual to reproduce the event, because Jesus himself had set it up. 

Prior to his passion, while he sat at table with his disciples, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to them saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19).

Faithful to this order of the Lord, Christians began to come together to celebrate the Eucharist on the first day of every week. 

Pliny, from Bithynia testifies like this to Emperor Trajan: Christians “have the habit of meeting on a fixed day before the rising of the sun, singing among them alternately a hymn to Christ as to a god, to engage with an oath not to commit crimes, robbery or brigandage, nor adulteries, to live up to his word, not to deny a deposit demanded by justice.

Having performed these rites, they have a habit to separate and come together again to take their food, whatever they say, is ordinary and harmless” (Pliny, Ep. X).

The early Christians had only one Eucharistic celebration per week. Today we can attend Mass every day.

If repeated with faith, this sacrament, which means union with the Lord of life, makes this union more solid and deeper.

 λ Father Fernando Armellini cmf
Claretian Publications