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Father Muench Says...

Jesus wants to satisfy our spiritual hunger

Aug. 29, 2018

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today, I would like to continue considering John 6 with you. As you remember, the Gospel readings for each Sunday during August this year have been from that chapter, John 6. For that reason, our attention at Mass during these weeks has been on our sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

In John 6, Jesus speaks of himself as the bread of life – the bread that comes down to us from heaven. We recognize this as our sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. This sacrament is important and very foundational to our Catholic spirituality. Each time, we join for prayer on Sunday, we “do Eucharist” – we pray the Mass.

You and I began learning about the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist as children at first Communion classes. Yet, even after all these years, there continues to be something new to learn about our sacraments, about the Holy Eucharist and about the Mass.

This year, as I read and studied John 6 again, I became even more impressed with how much Jesus wants to be part of our lives. I recognized how fervently Jesus wants to be present to each of us. That’s why Jesus instituted this powerful sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. The image is that Jesus wants to be a part of our lives, just as each of us needs food to satisfy our hunger. Food is a necessity for us. Food keeps us alive and active. Jesus wants to be the food for our spiritual life.

Personally, I must admit that I have never been physically hungry. I have not had that experience. However, I do know only too well that I have experienced hunger spiritually. I have recognized a need for something to nourish and strengthen my spiritual life – to give me a new and strong spirit to live well.

Jesus makes it very clear in the Gospels that he wants to be the one who can solve that need. Jesus wants to come to me to transform and strengthen my confidence. Jesus can give me the readiness to meet the challenges of each day, so that I will live well as a disciple.

I am certain each day is filled with many opportunities and challenges to transform this world, to make it a better place. The power to accomplish this comes from the Lord, who wants to be “bread for new life.” I know that I need this life of the Lord, this power of Jesus. I know that this power comes through the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. I believe firmly that every one of us becomes a new and more alive person each time we find Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. I believe that every person leaves Mass a new and more alive Christian, a far different person than the one who entered the church.

It is all about our faith – our faith in Christ’s presence in the Holy Eucharist. Our faith in Christ’s readiness to become part of our lives and all that we do. I proclaim often my faith in my ordination as a priest. I have complete faith that each time I go to the altar for Mass and say the words and prayers of the Lord that Jesus is truly present in that place with that congregation. I believe that each time I administer Holy Communion at Mass, the Lord is present to each person, present to bring new life and new confidence to each person. I am also certain that each time I bring Holy Communion to a home bound or dying person that Jesus becomes present and alive in their lives bringing help and confidence to them in this difficult time in their lives.

Holy Communion is a time for our act of faith. Each of us, as we approach Holy Communion, must make an act of faith in the words of Jesus: “This is my Body… This is my Blood.” Our faith gives us a new strength of confidence in the presence of Jesus in our lives.

So, Jesus comes to us as our food. Through the Eucharist, a spiritual bond is forged between us and Jesus. The sacrament of the Holy Eucharist enables us to grow in intimacy and friendship with the Lord.

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