Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Friday of the Third Week of Easter - The Gift Of God

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you are the true bread come down from heaven, the holy one of God. May your Eucharistic sacrifice on that night of Holy Thursday only bring me to believe more fully in you. May this sacrifice only bring me to hope in the kingdom to come, and may your love be more perfectly present in me. 

Petition: O Jesus, the flesh that gives life to the world, let me be filled by the love of your Eucharist.

1. “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?” I will answer this question in my prayer and by offering a response of faith and love instead of doubt and rational calculation. I will answer it as one who knows the depth of Christ’s love for souls and his power as Son of the Most High. With the same self-donation with which he washed his disciples’ feet, he instituted the Eucharist sacrifice of his body and blood for me as a memorial of his death and resurrection. It is a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, and a pledge of future glory given to me personally in every Mass. (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1323). Take some time to contemplate this gift and thank Jesus for it. 

2. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life.” While Christ comes to us in every communion, he nonetheless remains veiled in the sacrament. It is a sacrament that keeps our eyes pointed to a more definitive possession of Christ in heaven. As the catechism states, “we celebrate the Eucharist ‘awaiting the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ,’ asking ‘to share in your glory when every tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you are. We shall become like you and praise you for ever through Christ our Lord.’” (cfr. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1404). This Eucharist is our nourishment on our pilgrimage until the moment of our death. It will then blossom as a seed into our eternal life and thus the words of our Lord are fulfilled “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1524).

3. “… remains in me and I in him.” Fidelity is the first fruit of Eucharistic communion. The catechism states, “As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and this living charity wipes away venial sins. By giving himself to us Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in him” (Catechism of the Cahtolich Church, 1394) Worthy reception of the Eucharist permits me to persevere through many battles in my vocation and apostolic mission. Adoration of the Eucharist can also help me to conquer long-term defects and overcome many obstacles in my path to fidelity. 

Dialogue with Christ: O Jesus, you are my way, my truth and my life. You remain in me and I pray to remain in you always, for the road is hard and hopeless without you, but my confidence is strong, for you have left me the greatest gift of your love: the Eucharist. Now I can always be with you in a very special way. 

Resolution: To partake in the Eucharistic feast (Mass) or visit him today in the tabernacle.

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