John 6 Day 5

Day 5

Thursday, April 17, 2024

Jn. :35-40


As we continue to reflect on the Bread of Life discourse, Our Lord comes to the part of His dialogue where He shifts from explaining what He is giving us in the holy bread of eternal life to why He is giving it to us.  In other words, what is the purpose of giving Himself to us in this way?


Paraphrasing a little: “the will of God the Father if that He should not lose anyone entrusted to Jesus His Son, but that He should raise it up on the last day.”


This is so profound that it requires some “unpacking.”  It should be a great consolation to us, especially when we become discouraged because of our spiritual weakness, sinfulness, or lack of holiness, that God the Father wants us to be in Heaven with Him.  In fact, it is fair to say that God wants to be with us more than we want to be with Him.  We should frequently pray not just that we avoid sin (although that is important) but that He grants us a greater desire to be with Him, both in this life and our eternal life to come.   Many of the problems in our spiritual life are that we don’t long to be united to Jesus, so as a result, we don’t do what it takes to get there.


The simplest way to put this might be, God the Father is “on our side.”  That is why, in His goodness, He gives us everything we need – and then some – to remain in Communion with Him.  Above all, He gives us the holy sacraments, pre-eminent among them the Holy Eucharist.


In His beautiful poetry in praise of the Blessed Sacrament, the famous Eucharistic teacher St. Thomas Aquinas calls the Eucharist a “pledge of future glory.”  That is, it is the Lord’s way of giving us a “down payment” on what our Heavenly life will be like, an anticipation of the joy of being completely united with the Blessed Trinity, with no obstacle of sin or selfishness remaining, so that our whole being is suffused with the joy of being in the Lord’s presence.


This is what the Mass foreshadows, or points ahead to.  In this earthly life, we have to conclude the Mass and (fortified with the Bread from Heaven) return to the difficulties and challenges of our work and family life, constantly battling the pull of sin.  But that “negative gravity” ceases to be in Heaven, leaving nothing but joy.


There is a very profound scene in Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ.  The director shows Our Lord slowly and solemnly lifting up before His Apostles the sacred bread at the Last Supper, this special Passover meal that He transformed into the first Mass.  Interspersed with that scene is the raising of the Cross – with its extraordinarily heavy weight being hoisted up by the Roman soldiers as it then forcefully crashes down into place, into the hole dug for it, in preparation for the Crucifixion of Our Lord.  This is done so artfully that the viewer can clearly see that the raising of Christ on the Cross and the raising of the Sacred Host at the consecration by the priest during Mass are in a sense one and the same. 


It is through the Eucharist that we receive the promise that, by the grace of God and His holy sacraments, if we continue to be faithful to the Lord and accept His divine help and grace, the Communion we make at each Mass will finally be fulfilled in Heaven.

Sometimes in a relationship, such as marriage, we might be tempted to rest on our laurels of past acts of love.  Our spouse might then begin to think, “Yes, you used to show your love for me, but what have you done for me lately?” 


The repetition of the celebration of holy Mass, day in and day out, is a way to make present anew the same profound love of Our Lord Jesus at Calvary, willingly uniting His will to the Father’s will, showing us over and over again that He never ceases to draw us to heavenly happiness by the power of the Blessed Sacrament.  Let us praise God for that ongoing gift!