Do You Also Want to Leave?

The past four Sundays have focused our thoughts on the Bread of Life. Now today, we hear the conclusion to the discourse -Jesus is the Bread of Life who brings us eternal life. We might think everyone is open to this wondrous gift. But our Gospel today says otherwise! Many would return to their former lives and no longer accompany Jesus. Although the gift is freely given, there remains a choice to accept the gift or not.

Why would anyone not choose this wondrous gift? Why would many leave? Why? Because this simple gift has demands! The demand of the Gift is that we become like the Giver and give ourselves for the good of others. Self giving always leads to new life and this is why we are able to make the choice to stay.

“This is My Body”

“It’s all in the details” was my father’s mantra. He was methodical in his preparations. From him we learned that nothing significant in our lives happens without preparation. We spend years in school before we begin a profession. We spend months preparing for a wedding; years preparing for profession of vows in a religious congregation. We spend hours pouring over specs as we build a house. Big events take careful preparation. In our gospel today [Mark 14:12-16, 22-26], Jesus sends two disciples ahead to make preparations for a supper. Such careful preparation means something important is about to happen.  And so it does, Jesus gives himself, body and blood, the Eucharist, to us as food. Truly the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. This is the mystery we celebrate this Sunday.

This feast offers us an opportunity to reflect on the times when we are called to be what we receive-when we become the Body and Blood of Christ for each other. By our participation in the Eucharist, we accept the new relationship of divine self gift and personal presence. Even more, we become that presence for the world, called to that same self-giving.