For the following four Sundays we read from the Bread of Life discourse in John’s Gospel from chapter 6, where Jesus makes clear that it is God who provides the bread we eat, the food that nourishes our bodies, and the life that courses within our veins. Jesus proclaims “I am the Bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.” Obviously this is metaphorical language in that we will never hunger or thirst for God’s life within us unless we shut him out, turn away from Him or reject Him. But, besides communing with one another in the Lord at the Sunday Eucharist where do we find Christ’s life in our lives.
First and foremost, we can find Christ in our daily bread, daily prayer, reading and reflecting on the scriptures, reflecting on our relationship with Christ who is the very best friend we can ever have. We can discover Christ in service to our brothers and sisters, feeding the hungry, tending to our neighbor, and being present with and to our family members and friends.
Next, we can also be Eucharist in our daily lives when we pay attention to others. Going to my barber the other day a man sat down in the next chair. He looked very familiar and it took me awhile to place him. We were in seminary together fifty-four years ago when I was a freshman and he was a senior. As a student, he played the organ for Mass at the seminary, lifted weights and eventually discerned that priesthood, ministry was not for him. He left after graduating from college, later found the love of his life married and is a grandfather and taught school for over 36 years. He continues to minister to others through the gift of music and is active in the community. He didn’t really know who I was at first, there is a great gap in any school between the first year students and seniors, but we could connect on that common ground, a shared experience, formed by the Sulpician fathers at Saint Joseph Seminary in 1964-65.
It is a small world and there are definitely six degrees or less of separation between people, if we just pay attention to those around us. Paying attention to others is truly part of what being Eucharist is for others.
Father Larry Hendel