The Bread of holiness, mercy and love

We have entered the celebration of the Death and the Resurrection of the Lord and we begin with a Mass. In obedience to Jesus, we do what he asked us to do: “Do this in remembrance of me”. We think of him. We call to our minds the circumstances of the last days, especially the last evening before he suffered and died on the Cross. We accompany him on his way. It was the journey of man towards his death, but he made it a way into eternal life. Both his death and his resurrection are remembered at Mass. He comes to us through the Eucharist as the Risen One who went through death, and whose life has overcome and vanquished death.

At its heart, the Eucharist is not something, it is someone. Jesus is present, he draws near to us, he comes: “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes”. He came once in the middle of times. He will come again in glory at the end of the ages. He comes every day, most especially at each time Eucharist is celebrated.

When the Church does what Jesus told her to do, Jesus himself comes, Jesus himself is present. But again he is not present as something, as one thing more in the space of this building. Rather, we become present to him; we are made aware by a visible sign of his all-encompassing presence as Saviour. The Eucharist changes us, not him. It happens to us, not to him.

Through the signs of the bread and the wine, Jesus comes to us in order to be our sacrifice of thanksgiving. He offers for us, and we offer with him, the sacrifice of our reconciliation. We enter the loving gift of self by which he concluded his life totally given “for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51). His all-encompassing Love seizes each of our lives, our joys and our sufferings, all that we are, each of us. We are with him and in him as he presents himself to the Father for us in a single act of perfect obedience and perfect love.

Through the Holy Eucharist too, Jesus himself comes in us in order to introduce us into his eternal life: “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn 6:54).” He or she “abides in me, and I in him” or her (Jn 6:56).

Such is the Bread of Easter, the Bread and the Cup that make those who eat them pass-over to the Father with Jesus. It is the Bread of life which makes us sharers in the divine life of Jesus! The Bread of holiness which separates us from sin and calls for our constant conversion! The Bread of mercy which unites the sinner to his heavenly Father! The Bread of love which makes us one with Christ and builds the Church as fraternal communion in charity, and in a nuptial bond with her Crucified Spouse!

He gives us this Bread, he who washes our feet in water as a slave, and cleanses our sins in his Blood as the redeeming Servant of God and the High Priest of the New Covenant. We thank him in humble praise! We adore him in silent love!