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Eucharist is ‘greatest experience of our lives’

Based on the Gospel of John 6:60-69
Acceptance or rejection. Understanding but disbelief.

This Sunday’s Gospel concludes Jesus’ “Bread of Life” teaching we have been hearing over the past few Sundays.

Many of the disciples following Jesus say, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Because of this teaching, they leave and no longer follow Jesus. He doesn’t stop them. Jesus is the Lord of life, but he will not force people to believe in him and to follow him. Real, true discipleship must be a free choice.

Jesus turns to the Twelve Apostles and asks, “Do you also want to leave?” Jesus cares deeply about them; he personally chose them to be his closest companions. Peter, making a beautiful act of faith, says, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” Actually, what Peter is saying, “Master, I don’t fully get what you just said, but I do know who you are.”

Jesus asks us the same question, “Do you also want to leave?” Jesus is asking for a personal relationship with him – belief in him and surrendering to him. From the time of the apostles – to the present day – to the end of time – this is what the Christian life is all about.

Jesus, the Son of God, the Bread of Life, came down to earth, died on the cross, rose from the dead, and gives us eternal life through the Eucharist.

As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred banquet of Communion with the Lord’s body and blood. But the celebration of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union of the faithful with Christ through Communion. To receive Communion is to receive Christ himself who has offered himself to us.” (#1382)

If we truly believe that in the Eucharist we experience an intimate union with Jesus, we should be flocking to get to Mass as often as possible – not as an obligation but as the greatest experience of our lives.

As Catholic Christians, if we would put consistent and committed effort into practicing our faith – into believing that Jesus comes to us body and blood, soul and divinity in the bread and wine – what a different world this would be.

Lord Jesus, come and deepen our faith and love for you, the Bread of Life!