BRIEF REFLECTION ON THE EUCHARIST
By: Fr. Johnbosco Obika
The Eucharist is a thanksgiving celebration of the people of God. In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in a thanksgiving sacrifice as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator as the giver and sustainer of life. In the Old Testament, Melchizedek, who was both a priest and king (Genesis 14:18; Hebrews 7:1-4), offered a sacrifice of bread and wine. His offering prefigured the offering made by Jesus, our high priest and king (Hebrews 7:26; 9:11; 10:12). In the Old testament, the priest is separate from the victim of sacrifice. However, in the New Testament, the priest and the victim are inseparable. Jesus offered His Body and Blood for the live of the world.
In the Gospel reading of today Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day” (John 6:53-54). At this proclamation, Jesus was left with a fewer number of followers as the crowd who followed him grew thinier. This crowd was expecting an earthly food as he gave them during the miracle of multiplication of loaves. Jesus, however, introduced a spiritual food which sustains the soul into eternity. Like the Israelites who journeyed on arid lands with different challenges of hunger thirst were fed by God with a manner from heaven, so are we who journey through life amid earthly challenges, temptations and tribulations are nourished by the Holy Eucharist as food for the journey.
In his homily at the 2014 celebration of the solemnity of Corpus Christi in Rome, Pope Francis said, “If we look around us, we realize that there are so many offers of food that do not come from the Lord and which seem to satisfy more. Some nourish themselves with money, others with success and vanity, others with power and pride. However, the food that really nourishes us and satiates us is only that which the Lord gives us! The food the Lord offers us is different from the others, and perhaps it does not seem as tasty as certain foods which the world offers us”. There is a hunger in man which earthly foods cannot quench. It is a hunger for God, for eternal, for peace of soul.These can only be satisfied by the sacred food and drink which Jesus offers.
The Eucharist also summarises our daily living. In it, Christ invites us to become bread broken for others and blood shed for others. At the last supper he said: “Take it; this is my body.” “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many” (Mtt. 26:28). Jesus not only said those words, He lived them by a life of self- giving and by giving His life on the Cross. You and I are to do the same. Our daily lives must mirror the Eucharist. We must give ourselves in availability for others, pour out our lives in service and in love of others.