The Readings for Tuesday in the 3rd Week of Easter (B2)
I am the bread of life.
In the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer 1979 there is a Eucharistic Anaphora that includes the lines:
Deliver us from the presumption of coming to this table for solace only and not for strength; for pardon only and not for renewal.
Yesterday, however, I heard a sermon at 6:30 mass which cut me to my quick and added another “for…. only and not for….” to the list. In fact it’s the only thing that should be on the list.
Fr Justin said that Christ is not a “Costco and Kaiser Permanente combined”. I realized that I have been – for several years, really – been coming to communion for the effects of the sacrament, but not for the reality of it. I’ve not been coming for Christ, himself.
I long for healing from my sins. I crave salvation and eternal life. I want reunion with those gone from me. I’ve a long list of intentions, too: prayers for those dealing with addiction, for friends in family problems, for the homeless, for peace, for the intentions of our Holy Father, Pope Francis, etc. But how have I come for solace and renewal, for pardon and strength, and yet not been coming for Christ, himself?
Ego Sum. I am. God’s divine name. I am the Bread of Life. Jesus, himself.
This is the gift of the Eucharist. All those other things may happen but it is Christ, himself, the flesh of God, born of Mary; this is the miracle of Grace that comes to us in the Mass: Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Yes, I know that. I never forgot it. But it was not why I was there.
Jesus says qui venit ad me, non esurient. He that cometh to me shall not hunger. But we should not come to him so that we are not hungry. We come to him. Then we are not hungry: Jesus wants us to want him for himself, to love him because of Love. Because he first loved us. We can be gold diggers looking for a sky-bound sugar daddy.
We have a generous and a gracious God who gives us his very self.
Why relish the bread of life for the side effects?