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The Bread of Life Discourse

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

Beginning today and continuing on for the next week, we will read from the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel which includes Bread of Life discourse. The story begins with a multitude of more than 5,000 people and ends with the Twelve. As the discourse develops, the number of those who hear Jesus' words steadily decreases until Jesus asks the fateful question: Do you also want to leave? (John 6:67b)

Another way of putting the same question is the question that I have been asking all week. Do you believe in the resurrection? The people who gradually move away from Jesus throughout chapter six do so because they do not believe his assertion that he is the Bread of Life, that those who eat his body and drink his blood will eat and drink eternal life. If we do not believe that Jesus really rose from the dead, then his assertion about the effects of eating his body and drinking his blood are moot. Faith in the resurrection is the ground, the foundation of our faith in Jesus and in His Word.

If we believe, then we also understand that by eating and drinking his body and his blood, we become his body, the mystical body of Christ. Just as the bread and wine are changed through the words of consecration, we too are changed by participating in this communion. The very word itself speaks of that change: communion = with unity. If the world does not recognize the Body of Christ in its midst, then we must ask whether our faith in the resurrection is evident enough for the world to see. Receiving the Body and Blood of Christ is more than a privilege; it is also a responsibility.

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