Thought of the day
Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday of the Third week of Easter
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"My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink"

Catechesis to the newly baptized of the church in Jerusalem (4th century)
No. 4 ; SC 126 (trans. ©Edward Yarnold SJ)

"My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink"

"Take and eat; this is my body... Take and drink; this is my blood." (Mt 26,26f.) Since, then, Christ himself clearly described the bread to us in the words “This is my body”, who will dare henceforward to dispute it? And since he has emphatically said, “This is my blood”, who will waver?...  So let us partake with the fullest confidence that it is the body and blood of Christ. For his body has been bestowed on you in the form 6 of bread, and his blood in the form of wine, so that by partaking Christ's body and blood you may share with him the same body and blood... This is how, in the blessed Peter's words: “we become partakers of the divine nature” (2Pt 1,4).

Christ once said in conversation with the Jews: “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you” They were scandalised because they did not interpret his words spiritually... Even in the Old Testament there were “Loaves of the Presence,” but since they belonged to the old dispensation they have come to fulfilment. But in the New Testament the bread is of heaven and the chalice brings salvation, (Jn 6,41; Ps 115[116],4) and they sanctify the soul and the body; for as the bread relates to the body, so the word harmonises with the soul...

The Blessed David will inform you of the meaning of the Eucharist when he says: “Thou hast laid a table before me against those who oppress me” (Ps 22[23],5)... The only thing he can mean is that sacramental, spiritual table which God has made ready for us against the evil spirit... “And the chalice which inebriates me, how godly it is” (v.5 LXX), here he mentions the chalice which Jesus took in his hand, and giving thanks said: “This is the blood which is poured out for many for the remission of sins” (Mt 26,28)...  David was speaking of this long ago when he sang: “Bread strengthens the heart of man, that he may make his face glad with oil” (Ps 103[104],15).  So strengthen your heart by partaking of that spiritual bread, and gladden the face of your soul.

Source: © 2001-2014

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