This week’s Gospel readings are from the sixth chapter of John, the “Bread of Life” discourse. The Church reflects on the Eucharist in light of the Resurrection of Jesus, and we see the deeper meanings of many of Jesus’ teachings in this light. Jesus proclaiming Himself to be the Bread of Life makes more sense once He has said: “take this, all of you, and eat of it, for this is my Body.” Jesus’ promise to be with us always became concrete in the life of the Church when He said: “Do this in memory of me.” The Eucharist becomes Sacrament, not merely symbolic, when we take together the realities of the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, and the post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus. The experience of the disciples at Emmaus highlight this for us: “He was made known to them in the breaking of the bread.”
The Eucharist is the key to understanding, recognizing, and receiving Jesus here in this life and the foretaste and promise of how we will be with Him forever in the next life.