The compassionate Jesus in the holy Eucharist

| Deacon Bruno Nwachukwu | July 31, 2014 | 0 Comments

elderly hands photo

As a transitional deacon in a parish for the summer, I have found that bringing holy Communion to the sick and the homebound at the nursing home has increased my love and appreciation for the miraculous gift of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Every week, my Communion visits have been filled with amazing experiences. The people I visit are always ready to receive Christ with a smile or with tears of joy. Both gestures are powerful signs of their hunger for our eucharistic Lord. They believe that he is their source of healing and spiritual nourishment.

These experiences draw our attention to this Sunday’s readings. In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah invites the people to come to God, who provides for their needs. He does this by using the metaphors of grain and bread, water, wine and milk and rich fare — all free gifts from God. The only action that God expects from the people is to come to him with strong faith and trust instead of returning to their former life of sin and exile. He also hopes that we would open the door of our hearts and let him dwell in us.

In the Gospel reading, Jesus performs the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Out of compassion and love, he fed the crowds like a shepherd feeds his sheep. In feeding the crowds, Jesus showed them that he is the Bread of Life. This anticipated what he did at the Last Supper with his 12 disciples, and with the two disciples going to Emmaus. These events call to mind the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Jesus is the true bread of life needed by humanity. He gave us his body and blood so that we may have life in abundance. The crowds recognized him to be their only source of life, and they gathered around him. Out of compassion, Jesus transformed them into a community of life and love by teaching them and healing their infirmities. He also fed them with the true food of life, which cured their spiritual blindness. He offered them something more than what they expected — eternal life.

As Catholics, do we recognize the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, which we receive at Mass? How much time do we spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? As we reflect on these two questions, let us bear in mind that Jesus is the broken bread, broken for the broken people. Our Lord feeds us with his body and blood to help us in our journey of conversion toward healing. Along the way, there are challenges. But as Jesus fed and healed the crowd, he will do the same for us through our reception of the Eucharist. With the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, we are led to have the right perspective of life. With this right perspective, we are empowered to persevere in our Christian faith. May we believe in Christ’s eucharistic presence and experience true healing.

Deacon Nwachukwu is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. His teaching parish is St. Joseph in West St. Paul. His home parish is St. Mark in St. Paul.


Readings

Sunday, Aug. 3
Eighteenth Sunday in ordinary time

  • Isaiah 55:1-3
  • Romans 8:35, 37-39
  • Matthew 14:13-21

Reflection

How can you invite others to come to God?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures