Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B
"I am the bread of life"
The Church draws her life from the Eucharist. This truth does not simply express a daily experience of faith, but recapitulates the heart of the mystery of the Church. In a variety of ways she joyfully experiences the constant fulfilment of the promise: “Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age” (Mt 28:20), but in the Holy Eucharist, through the changing of bread and wine into the body and blood of the Lord, she rejoices in this presence with unique intensity. Ever since Pentecost, when the Church, the People of the New Covenant, began her pilgrim journey towards her heavenly homeland, the Divine Sacrament has continued to mark the passing of her days, filling them with confident hope.
The Second Vatican Council rightly proclaimed that the Eucharistic sacrifice is “the source and summit of the Christian life” (LG 11). “For the most holy Eucharist contains the Church's entire spiritual wealth: Christ himself, our passover and living bread (1Cor 5,7; Jn 6,51). Through his own flesh, now made living and life-giving by the Holy Spirit, he offers life to men” (Vatican II PO 5). Consequently the gaze of the Church is constantly turned to her Lord, present in the Sacrament of the Altar, in which she discovers the full manifestation of his boundless love.
Saint John-Paul II, Pope from 1978 to 2005
Encyclical « Ecclesia de Eucharistia », 1 (trans. © Libreria Editrice Vaticana)