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Tag Archives: EUCHARIST

LUKE 24:30-31 (Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 24:13-35)

Jakarta, 20 April 2022 [EASTER OCTAVE: WEDNESDAY]

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I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

I AM THE BREAD OF LIFE

(A biblical reflection on the 18th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 1 August 2021)

Gospel Reading: John 6:24-35

First Reading: Exodus 16:2-4,12-15; Psalms: Psalm 78:3-4,23-25,54; Second Reading: Ephesians 4:17,20-24

The Scripture Text

So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.

When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on Him has God the Father set His seal.” Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, “Then what sign do You do, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:24-35 RSV)

Throughout the ages, God continues to teach His people the same lessons. By giving the Israelites manna in the desert, He taught them to rely on Him on a day-by-day basis (Exodus 16:4). Centuries later, we see Jesus teaching His disciples a similar lesson: “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you” (John 6:27). He did not want them to limit their expectations to “perishable” signs and wonders from God. He wanted to take away their guilt and fill them with a love they had never known before.

When the people asked what works they should do in order to please God, Jesus gave them a very simple answer: “Believe in Him whom God has sent” (John 6:28-29). Nothing pleases our heavenly Father more than His children’s trust and obedience.

Even today, Jesus continues to teach us the same lesson. He does not want us to go hungry; He wants us to come to Him and be satisfied (John 6:35). He knows that only He can quench our hunger and thirst for meaning and security. A daily, living relationship with Him is our only answer.

Why do we find it hard to come to Jesus? Maybe we have a limited view of God and are afraid He will not satisfy our hunger. Maybe we think that we somehow have to earn His love by doing all the right things. Or maybe we have been disappointed in earthly relationships and find it hard to believe that our heavenly Father loves us just as we are. He is more interested in intimacy with us than in our performance because He knows that the more we know of His love, the more we will be compelled to obey His commands. Let us come to Him in faith, trusting that He alone can satisfy the deep desires of our hearts.

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You are the bread of life. Fill us with Your love so that we will never want anything else. Teach us to come to You every day to receive the food that endures to eternal life. Amen.

Jakarta, 31 July 2021

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THEY RECOGNIZED HIM: 3rd SUNDAY OF EASTER [YEAR A] : Luke 24:13-35

Jakarta, 26 April 2020

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THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

THE BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST

(A biblical reflection on the Solemnity of CORPUS CHRISTI – Sunday, 23 June 2019)

Gospel Reading: Luke 9:11-17 

First Reading: Genesis 14:18-20; Psalms: Psalm 110:1-4, Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 

The Scripture Text

When the crowds learned it, they followed Him; and He welcomed them and spoke to them of the Kingdom of God, and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away; and the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the crowd away, to go into the villages and country round about, to lodge and get provisions; for we are here in a lonely place.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish – unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And He said to His disciples, “make them sit down in companies, about fifty each.” And they did so, and made them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fist he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were satisfied. And they took up what was left over, twelve baskets of broken pieces. (Luke 9:11-17 RSV) 

Corpus Christi Sunday is a day when we celebrate Jesus’ goodness in feeding us through the Holy Eucharist.

Today’s Gospel recounts the story of how Jesus satisfies the hunger of a large multitude with just a few fish and a few loaves of bread. Focusing on the great number of people Jesus fed, we often overlook another significant detail. Before giving the food to the people to eat, Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and pronounced a blessing on it (said grace). This blessing was a very important part of every Jewish meal because a pious Jew would not dare eat without first giving thanks to God who gives us all good things.

Although God does not need our thanks, giving Him thanks before we eat is a very appropriate response for all He has given us. Recall how you feel when you give something to someone and that person does not acknowledge your gift. The disappointment is bad enough when the ungrateful recipient is a stranger or someone you do not know very well but it is much more acute when the person is someone you love. In such a case, because the gift is an expression of your love, it is easy to feel it is your love, not just the gift, that the person does not appreciate.

With this in mind, we can readily understand how God feels when we fail to give thanks to Him for all the gifts He has so tenderly bestowed on us. Because of His great love for us, the pain and the disappointment God feels when we are ungrateful is acute. Our callousness can only communicate to Him how little we value His many expressions of love.

Today, on the Feast of Corpus Christi (which is Latin for “Body of Christ”), we celebrate and give thanks to God for the gift of the body and blood of His Son. Since the days of the early Church, Christians have understood the story in today’s Gospel to be symbolic of the celebration of the Eucharist. Scripture scholars believe this is the main reson why it is the only story we find in all four of the Gospels.

The greatest gift God could have given us is the gift of His Son, Jesus. Because of His immense love for us, He continues to give us this gift in the form of bread and wine. We take time today to thank God in a special way for this great gift, the gifts of His love.

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 338-339.)

Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, You gave Your Church an admirable sacrament as the abiding memorial of Your passion. Teach us so to worship the sacred mystery of your Body and Blood, that its redeeming power may sanctify us always.

Jakarta, 21 June 2019 

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THE EUCHARIST IS A PLEDGE OF THE RESURRECTION TO COME [Pope St. John Paul II]

Jakarta, 5 May 2019

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THE APPEARANCE OF JESUS TO TWO OF HIS FOLLOWERS ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

Today’s Gospel Reading: Luke 24:13-35 – OCTAVE OF EASTER – EASTER WEDNESDAY: 24 April 2019.

You can almost hear the exasperation in the voice of these two followers of Jesus Christ: “We had hoped that He was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things took place” (Luke 24:21).

Although the grapevine was ripe with rumors that their hero was alive, they hadn’t seen Jesus. Since it was now the third day since His disgraceful death, they concluded that his prophet was not coming back to liberate the Jews from oppressive foreign rule. His promises sounded empty to them.

At times we may experience disappointment as these two disciples did. When money is low and stress is high, for example, or when we are ill and see no signs of recovery, hope can slip away and the temptation not to trust God may draw near. In frustration we may feel that Jesus has abandoned us or that He’s not going to make good on His promise to take care of us after all.

But the good news is that God will fulfill all His promises – just as He fulfilled His promise that He would rise again on the third day (Luke 9:22; 18:33). While the two disciples were hanging their heads in despair and lamenting their unfulfilled hopes, Jesus was standing right before them! Just think: If these two had not unburdened themselves to Him, they might have missed Pentecost altogether. Similarly, if the lame beggar in the first reading had not looked up from his brokenness and voiced his need, he might not have received healing in Jesus’ name (Acts 3:1-10).

Jesus is waiting for you to look up from your brokenness and see the healing he has in store for you. He wants you to unburden yourself to Him and trust that He wants to help you in your trial and disappointments. He is with you always, just as He promised (Matthew 28:20). You can always call to Him, because He cares for you. He loves you so much, in fact, that He went to the grave and back for you. May His Holy Spirit open our eyes to recognize the risen Jesus, the Lord of miracles!

Jakarta, 24 April 2019

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FIVE LOAVES AND TWO FISH

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 6:34-44 – TUESDAY AFTER EPIPHANY: 8 January 2019

In a scene heavy with eucharistic overtones, the Lord feeds the hungry people.

This action of Jesus is a parable in drama in which, anticipating His eucharistic gift of Himself, He feeds His followers from His own power and thereby gives an example of service.

His gift turned a crowd into family. They are no longer isolated disciples but a congregation assembled on this hillside to hear His word and receive His bread. This scene continues among us not only in our eucharistic celebrations but also in our relationship toward each other.

Christian love gives rather than take.

Jakarta, 8 January 2019

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Posted by on January 8, 2019 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2019

 

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JESUS CHRIST IS THE BREAD OF LIFE

JESUS CHRIST IS THE BREAD OF LIFE

(A biblical refection on THE 18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME [YEAR B] – 5 August 2018)

Gospel Reading: John 6:24-35 

First Reading: Exodus 16:2-4,12-15; Psalms: Psalm 78:3-4,23-25,54; Second Reading: Ephesians 4:17,20-24 

The Scripture Text

So when the people saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus. 

When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on Him has God the Father set His seal.” Then they said to Him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” So they said to Him, “Then what sign do You do, that we may see, and believe You? What work do You perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” 

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me shall not hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.” (John 6:24-35 RSV)

In today’s Gospel, some people ask Jesus what they must do to perform the works of God. Jesus responds by saying they must have faith in the One whom God sent. “The One” was a title for the Messiah, the military/political leader whom God would send to free the Jewish people from the oppression of their enemies.

From the reaction of the people, it appears they think Jesus’ answer means He is claiming to be the Messiah. Not wanting to let Jesus get away with making such a bold statement without backing it up, they challenge Him to produce a sign proving He actually is who He says He is. This sign has a lot to do with the story about Moses in today’s Old Testament reading.

In that reading (Exodus 16), the Jewish people complain to Moses that they have nothing to eat and God responds by sending them manna and quail. Later (Exodus 17), the people grumble because they have no water to drink so God tells Moses to strike a rock with his waling stick. Immediately, water flows from the rock.

Because the rabbis taught that the Messiah would be even greater than Moses, some people expected the Messiah to give them food and drink just as Moses did. Therefore, when the people ask Jesus for a sign, they are challenging Him to match Moses’ feat by also giving them food from heaven.

Jesus accepts the challenge and says the food He gives is His body and the drink is His blood. Moses satisfied physical hunger and physical thirst but Jesus satisfies spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst. The Jews who ate the manna in the desert and drink the water from the rock were soon hungry and thirsty again, but Jesus will forever satisfy the spiritual hunger of those who eat His body and drink His blood. This indicates Jesus is greater than Moses and, therefore, the Messiah.

Today’s Gospel ends with Jesus saying He is the Bread of Life. Bread is symbolic of food and we need food to sustain life. What do we think Jesus meant when He claimed to be the Bread of Life?

(Adapted from Jerome J. Sabatowich, Cycling Through the Gospels – Gospel Commentaries for Cycles A, B, and C, pages 192-193.)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, You are indeed the bread of life which comes down from heaven. Give us this bread always. Fill us with Your love so that we will never want anything else. Teach us to come to You every day to receive the food that endures to eternal life. Amen.

Jakarta, 3 August 2018 

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THEY WOULD BE EXPELLED FROM THE SYNAGOGUE

Today’s Gospel Reading: John 15:26 – 16:4 – SIXTH WEEK OF EASTER: Monday, 7 May 2018

The Lord describes the traumatic experiences ahead for the Christians. They would be “expelled from the synagogue”. This event would be devastating for the traditional Jewish Christians because the synagogue was their spiritual home. It was not such for the Christians of Antioch.

This was one reason why the celebration of the Eucharist became so vital and valuable. It became  what the synagogue had been and a great deal more as well. The obligation to celebrate the Eucharist is not our way of doing a favor for God, it is for ourselves. We need a place to recharge, a place of faith, a place of Christian memory and of Christian hope. This is what our Eucharist is. It is the place, as the Lord indicates in today’s Gospel reading, where the Spirit bears witness, convinces us again and brings new life to our faith.

The Eucharistic celebration is our spiritual home, wherever we may travel.

Jakarta, 7 May 2018

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EVERYBODY ATE AND WAS FULL

Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 8:1-10 – Saturday, 10 February 2018

Jesus feeds four thousand people. Mark uses this miracle at the conclusion of Jesus’ ministry in the Gentile territory to show the gift of the Eucharist to be for Gentiles as well as Jews.

Mark is picky when it comes to miracle stories. He usually avoids repetition. Yet Mark described a similar story in 6:34-44. Why this story, then? The main reason is the one Saint Augustine of Hippo [354-430] noted more than 1,500 years ago. The first feeding involved only Jews. This one, judging from where it happened (Mark 7:31 , included Gentiles too. So the story is not a repetition. Jesus Himself makes this clear (Mark 8:19-21).

Multiplications of bread are classic Gospel symbols of the Eucharist. This story anticipates the day when Gentiles and Jews will break bread together (Acts 10).  The real miracle is not the feeding. The real miracle is the fellowship of Gentiles and Jews that the feeding foreshadows. The Eucharist should heal and not create divisions. Remember that Jesus’ body broken and His blood spilled for all people: communists, atheists, Islamic fundamentalists, abortionists, etc. Jesus lived and died for everyone.

How open are we to all the people who gather to break bread with us each Sunday?

Jakarta, 10 February 2018

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Posted by on February 10, 2018 in TODAY'S THOUGHT 2018

 

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