Communion during Mass on Sunday at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. (Photo by Gina Del Rosario)

Communion during Mass on Sunday at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. (Photo by Gina Del Rosario)

Living and Growing: The Bread of Life

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Over 2,000 years ago, in Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread,” in a manger, or “mangiare” in Italian which means “food,” our Lord Jesus Christ was born so we all might have life. Jesus Christ is the Bread of Life.

Often, I go back to the Gospel of John Chapter 6 on the Discourse of the Bread of Life.

John 6:35: “I, Myself Am the Bread of life, no one who comes to Me shall ever be hungry, no one who believes in Me shall ever thirst.”

John 6:51-59: “I, Myself, Am the Living Bread come down from heaven. If anyone eats this Bread he shall live forever; the Bread I will give is My Flesh for the life of the world. At this the Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can he give us his flesh to eat?’ Thereupon Jesus said to them ‘Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. He who feeds on My Flesh and drinks My Blood has life eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day. For My Flesh is real food, and My Blood real drink. The man who feeds on My Flesh and drinks My Blood remains in Me and I in him. Just as the Father who has life sent Me and I have life because of the Father, so the man 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 died nonetheless, the man who feeds on this Bread will live forever.’”

He said this in a synagogue instruction at Capernaum.

In 2018, Lyndon and I went on a pilgrimage to Israel. As we went up Mount Zion my eyes filled with tears as I remembered Jesus’ Last Supper with his apostles and disciples. In the book “The Poem of the Man-God” by Maria Valtorta, Jesus said “From now on this is the Victim that will be consumed in a perpetual rite of love. I have washed your feet to teach you to be humble and pure like your Master. As I washed you, do the same to one another. That is, love one another like brothers, helping and respecting one another, setting an example to one another. And be pure, to be worthy of eating the living Bread that descended from Heaven, and have the strength, in yourselves and through It, to be My disciples in the hostile world that will hate you because of My Name.”

John 6:66: “From this time on, many of His disciples broke away and would not remain in His company any longer.”

John 6:67-69: “Jesus said to the Twelve, do you want to leave Me too? Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are God’s Holy one.’”

Matthew 26:26-28: During the meal Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to His disciples and said ‘Take this and eat it. This is My Body.’ Then He took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them and said ‘All of you must drink from it, for this is My Blood, the Blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.’”

Luke 22:19 “This is My Body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Since Jesus instituted the First Holy Eucharist over 2,000 ago Catholics continue to receive Him during Holy Communion in obedience to His command to eat His Body and drink His Blood.

Daily, Jesus invites us to His Supper during every Catholic Holy Mass, He comes and offers Himself to us — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity — hidden in the simple Bread and Wine, making it possible for the faithful to receive Him at every Holy Communion.

Faith tells us Christ is present, faith tells us Jesus is the Holy Eucharist, who we receive, as food for our soul. His Real Presence is proven by the many Eucharistic miracles that had happened since the 700th year of our Lord. Many of these Eucharistic miracles were examined by scientists, and results of examinations documented. One was from Lanciano, Italy in the eighth century where the Host turned to flesh, and the wine turned to visible blood. At scientific examinations made in 1971, the flesh was found to be human striated muscular tissue of the myocardium (heart wall), type AB, and to be free of any agents used for preserving flesh. For more Eucharistic miracles, please visit: https://www.therealpresence.org/eucharst/mir/engl_mir.htm.

Here in Juneau, Holy Masses are celebrated daily at St. Paul The Apostle Catholic Church in the valley and at The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary downtown. During the summer months, Holy Mass is also celebrated at the Shrine of St. Therese.

We take care of our physical body daily. But do we do anything daily to nourish our soul? When was the last time you went to Holy Mass and received Jesus in the Holy Communion? Do you believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist?

Father in Heaven, for this new year 2024, I pray that more people will come to Holy Mass daily to receive our Lord Jesus Christ during Holy Communion. May the Holy Spirit reveal to the hearts of all people the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Amen.

• Gina Del Rosario is a Roman Catholic who was born and raised in the Philippines, and is a parishioner at Saint Paul’s Catholic Church in Juneau. “Living & Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders. It appears every Saturday on the Juneau Empire’s Faith page.

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