Thursday of the Third Week of Easter
(Acts 8:26-40; John 6:44-51)
It is said that bread is the staff of life. Supplying most of the calories in a western person’s diet, bread was once the staple of half the world. Today a range of foods provides the calories for subsistence. More peculiar is the fact that many people have recently been diagnosed with an intolerance of gluten, a composite of wheat proteins. They cannot digest most bread well and should not eat any product containing more than a trace of gluten. How does this development affect today’s gospel claim that Jesus is “the bread of life”?
Just as the life that Jesus offers is greater than physical life, the bread he gives is more than regular bread. It is his “Eucharistic” bread which provides the superior life. Eucharistic bread enables a life of gratitude. It recognizes God as its source, its sustenance, and its end. Assured of such a benefactor, the person who consumes Eucharistic bread should give thanks always.
We have daily access to Eucharistic bread at mass. It transforms us inwardly to become more grateful for everything. Consuming Eucharistic bread, we lovingly recognize those who help us. We can even accept the difficulties that burden our lives with a sense of appreciation. Shouldered without rancor, they make us stronger and wiser. Becoming more Eucharistic, which means becoming more like Jesus himself, should bring us to mass more often.