By Bishop Joseph Strickland • August 10, 2018
This Sunday, we continue our journey through the Eucharistic Discourse of the Gospel according to St. John, Chapter 6. The good news is embedded in Jesus’ words, “I am the living bread come down from heaven.” What does Our Lord really mean? How is He living bread?
The idea of living bread is mysterious and difficult to grasp; however, it speaks to us of a profound connection between the incarnation of God’s only begotten Son and His enduring presence in the world, today, as the Bread of Life. The phenomenal good news I hear in these words is that Our Lord not only walked this earth two thousand years ago but that he continues to be a living presence among us, today. The Lord truly lived, died and rose for each of us and we partake of His living presence, as He sits at the right hand of His Father, by our participation in the Eucharistic banquet. The great irony is that the one who died for us also rose for us and by partaking of His Body and Blood in the Eucharistic sacrifice we are fed by His body in the form of living bread.
Additionally, the words, “come down from heaven”, send us a wonderful message that the heavenly one has come down to dwell among us and to draw us with Him to heaven in order to dwell with the Father and the Spirit. The chasm that separated heaven and earth has been bridged by the body of God’s own Son and we feed on that same body. The words of today’s Gospel challenge us to live the presence of heaven which is in our midst because we feed on His living presence. It is no wonder that many continue to reject this awesome truth because, too often, we fail to live the presence of heaven among us. Our greatest challenge is to persevere even when we can clearly see our failings.
Let us pray that we may grow stronger in our Eucharistic faith and thus live more powerfully the truth that Our Lord continues to be a real living presence among us. May the charity we live show others that our actions are fed by living bread which has come down from heaven.