The Gospel for Today
Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary TIme
Jn. 6: 44-51
Jesus said to the crowds:
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,
and I will raise him on the last day.
It is written in the prophets:
They shall all be taught by God.
Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.
Not that anyone has seen the Father
except the one who is from God;
he has seen the Father.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes has eternal life.
I am the bread of life.
Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died;
this is the bread that comes down from heaven
so that one may eat it and not die.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my Flesh for the life of the world.”
Reflection (Sem. Emmanuel Calumpong)
When I received my first communion during my third grade in elementary, I remember that I was so excited because after many years of waiting, finally I would be able to receive it. It was because I wanted to receive it every time I would see my parents and older siblings receive it when we would go to mass on Sundays prior to that day. Yes, before that day came, our parish catechists came to our school and gave us catechesis on the Holy Communion and prepared us, or should I say, gave us a thorough orientation on what was going to happen that one Sunday morning. But as far as I can remember, I and most of my classmates then, were more excited on knowing how would it taste and what would we feel after receiving it. It indeed was a far cry from what I would learn and understand later that, the Holy Communion is actually receiving the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Today’s gospel reminded us once again that Jesus is “the living bread that came down from heaven and whoever eats this bread will live forever.” This was a promise and at the same time, a manifestation of Christ’s great love for humanity for our salvation through his passion, death and resurrection. As Catholics, we are so blessed because even more than two thousand years after Jesus’ death, we are still able to receive and eat this bread and have eternal life, through the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, when we make it a point to always attend the celebrations of the Holy Eucharist and receive Jesus in the Holy Communion whenever we could, we become closer and closer to attaining His promise of salvation and eternal life.
Moreover, through the Holy Communion, Jesus also offered Himself as our spiritual sustenance. We may be receiving our Lord daily through His words and by communion, but they are not enough to keep us spiritually healthy. We need to practice His words in our daily lives through charity, justice, kindness, and other works of mercy. Otherwise, we remain stagnant in our spiritual life. If we believe in the saying “What we are is what we eat”, then receiving our Lord as often as possible will transform us and become like him.