1st Reading Ex 24:3-8 2nd Reading Heb 9:11-15
Psalm Response Ps 116:12-18 Gospel Mk 14:12-26
You are what you eat. Healthy eating is a key to well-being. You are what you see. You are what you hear. Show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are.
“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)
Jesus is a friend, a companion, a comrade. He is inviting us to be in communion with him. While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” (Mark 14:22)
Jesus is the “bread of life” (Jn. 6:35) broken and shared for our welfare. A companion is literally “a person with whom you share your bread.” The word comes from the Old French compaignon, from Latin word com- which means “together with” and Latin word panis which means “bread”. In dining fellowship, relationship is deepened as we consolidate shared core values. This communion creates one voice that facilitates family decisions. The family that eats together stays together.
If a companion is, literally, someone you share bread with, then a comrade is someone you share a room with. The origin of the word is Spanish camarada”a room-mate,” from Latin camera “a room.” Your comrade was originally someone who shared the same room or tent with you, often a fellow soldier.
Jesus is a comrade of the marginalized. Jesus said to a sinner, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down; for I must stay at your house today.” In this table fellowship, Zacchaeus said, “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” (Lk. 19:1-10) As a comrade, he defended the weak by denouncing the oppressive powerful. (Mt. 23:1-36; Mk. 12.38-40; Lk 20.45-47) As an itinerant preacher, he went from one house to another relying on the generosity of the people. His two disciples said, “Stay with us.” So he went in to stay with them and the risen Lord was recognized by the breaking of the bread. (Lk. 24:13-35)
Jesus is a friend who shares not only his bread, not only his room (John 14:2-3) but also his ministry and mission with its sacrifices.
To receive Jesus’ Body and Blood is to be one with Him:
1. To see what He sees. To hear what He hears. Jesus went beyond the walls of temple and synagogue by going to the roadside where he meets face to face a blind beggar. (Mark 10:46-52) “My teacher, let me see again.” Hearing the cry of the poor, Jesus showed his compassion by regaining the sight of the blind.
A youth joined Basic Ecclesial Community (BEC) immersion in our Annunciata Parish (Antipolo City) last March 2012. He shared, “I was not taking my study seriously. Upon seeing that there are many teenagers who wish to study but their parents cannot afford, I was inspired to value my schooling to become a better citizen to help in uplifting the situation of the poor.” This simple immersion made him see the people whom Jesus loves and he found illumination. “My teacher, let me see again.”
A psychiatrist gave a lecture on mental health. Someone asked him what he would suggest that a person do in times of impending nervous breakdown and lots of negative emotions. He replied: “Lock up your house, go to the other side of the road and find people in need. Then, do something to help. That’s a good cure for nervous breakdown, for boredom, for apathy, and for a whole host of unnecessary anxieties.” Someone said, “I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a happy man with no feet.” Visiting the needy whom Jesus visits can shatter our ego shell with its petty worries so we can open our eyes and widen our circle of Love. We pray the prayer of the blind: “My teacher, let me see again.”
2. To dream what He dreams. The vision and mission of Jesus (Lk. 4:18-19; Isaiah 61.1-2) is a critique of the oppressive realities that he saw in his time to liberate the people from poverty, oppression, and all evils. He wanted us to participate in this mission of salvation with focus and dedication.
No Niagara falls is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows great with depth until it is focused, dedicated, and disciplined. A blade is edged so that it lands with more energy per square centimeter than an equally sized blunt object. Concentration of effort is a fighting force’s edge. Once the target is identified, we focus resources to achieve it. Jesus gave his Great Amen to this mission to the point of being killed on the cross.
Jesus is the Bread of Life for two reasons: 1. He promoted life by healing the sick and feeding the hungry. 2. He provided us with the meaning of life: the breaking of the bread, the offering of our lives for Jesus’ mission.
Receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus reminds us that believing is not merely an intellectual thing, giving mental assent to a doctrine. It means to assimilate his ministry and example (John 13:15) so that his lifestyle may become our way of life. It means dying to oneself like the rain drop falling into the ocean to be one with the ocean, like a grain of wheat falling into the earth to bear much fruit. (Jn. 12:24)
As we receive Jesus, the Bread of Life, may we also be instruments of life-giving blessings and find the meaning of our lives by breaking our bread in the one mission for integral salvation. The Body of Christ: Amen!
Rev. Fr. Charly Ricafort, MI
Ministers of the Infirm