Homilette for Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday of the Third Week of Easter

(Acts 9:1-10; John 6:52-59)

St. Thomas Aquinas uses Aristotelian categories to answer the question of the Jews, “’How can (Jesus) give us his flesh to eat?’” He explains that the substance, or underlying nature of bread, is changed into the substance of Jesus’ flesh while the accidents, or qualities that we see and touch, remain those of bread.

This process of change, called transubstantiation, has served the Church through the centuries. Still some people do not accept Aristotelian categories and others cannot comprehend them. Even those who can understand and do accept the explanation must admit that the change takes place miraculously. It is a matter of faith in Scripture. Three of the gospels and Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians testify that Jesus told his disciples to offer the bread as he did at the Last Supper when he said, “This is my body.”

We believe that Jesus’ presence in the Eucharist is an act of God. Like resurrection from the dead, it defies ordinary experience. Yet it does help us appreciate our need to attend mass on Sunday or, for many of us, every day. We participate in the mass with others so that we might be brought together in Christ and with these same companions might experience the eternal life eating his flesh promises.