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Eucharist, Bread of Life


Bread per se is necessary for us to sustain our lives. However, we have souls that also need nourishment. Jesus came down from Heaven as spiritual bread to nourish souls. We cannot attain eternal glory without this life-sustaining bread.

People make bread from plants or trees using their leaves, stems, roots, seeds, or nuts, besides consuming their fruits. We also cook fish and the meat of animals or birds. Food production involves a partial or full sacrifice of the life of plants, fish, animals, or birds. Likewise, our spiritual food requires the sacrifice and death of Jesus. By his self-sacrifice, Jesus became living and life- giving bread for our souls.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” That bread is not just the physical bread that we make, or buy from the market, but also the supernatural bread, the Holy Eucharist. God fed the Israelites with manna daily in the desert for 40 years for their physical survival until they reached the Promised Land. Jesus nourishes the Christian with another form of supernatural bread, viz. his body and blood, until we reach Heaven, the perfect Promised Land.

Jesus said of himself, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven” (Jn 6:51). No human can be bread for others to consume. But Jesus offers himself to us as bread for our spiritual nourishment. Unlike ordinary bread, this has life in it.

Jesus’ listeners knew the bread from Heaven, the manna God supplied daily from above for 40 years in the desert. God said to Moses: “Now I am going to rain down bread from Heaven for you” (Ex 16:4). “In the evening, quails came up and covered the camp. And in the morning, all the places around the camp were wet with dew. When the dew lifted, there was on the surface of the desert a thin crust like hoarfrost. The people of Israel, on seeing it, said to one another, ‘What is it?’ for they did not know what it was. Moses told them, ‘It is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat’” (Ex 16:13-15).

Jesus is the new bread that came down from Heaven to sustain our spiritual life, and he continues nourishing us with the Holy Eucharist, which is his own body and blood. As per God’s instruction, Moses asked Aaron to put a full omer (measure) of manna in a jar and place it in front of the Lord’s covenant in the tabernacle (Ex 16:33-34). Thus, the Israelites kept manna in a jar close to the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies. In its place, we keep the new manna, the Holy Eucharist, in a tabernacle in the church sanctuary.

Jesus said, “Whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:51). Eternal life requires consuming the living bread, which is the body and the blood of Jesus. The physical food can keep our life only until death. Whereas the bread that Jesus gives is for the nourishment of our eternal soul.

Jesus fulfilled his promise of giving his flesh as bread and blood as drink for us at the Last Supper, followed by his sacrifice on the cross. “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was handed over, took bread, and, after he had given thanks, broke it and said, ‘This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me’” (1 Cor 11:23-25).

The next day, Jesus physically offered his one and only sacrifice (Heb 10:14) where he let his enemies rip his flesh and shed his blood. That was for the remission of Original Sin and for our sanctification. Thus, God fulfilled His promise of a Saviour made to Adam and the chosen people of his descendants. This sacrifice was to regain eternal life for all people who will accept Jesus’ call. “He is expiation for our sins and, not for our sins only, but for those of the whole world” (1 Jn 2:2).

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