Carmel Bulletin, 5 August 2018
The usual semicontinuous reading of Mark’s gospel during Ordinary Time in Year B is always put on hold at this point of the year while we listen to chapter 6 from John. John chooses not to repeat the recount of the Last Supper that we see in the other gospels. Instead, John the chapter 6 reflection on the Eucharist that begins with the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand.
The connection of this event with Jesus’ teaching that he is the bread of life reminds us that the Eucharist is a meal. Like the miraculous feedings of the gospels, the Eucharist is for us food and drink given to us by God. It is both thanksgiving and nourishment for those who follow Christ. It shows us that there is no limit to God’s giving – we will all receive what we need, with plenty to spare.
Jesus also explains to the people, however, that the manna their ancestors ate, however, did not give eternal life. Eternal life is the gift offered to us through the death and resurrection of Christ. Sharing in the Eucharist, therefore, is also to share in the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus ends the sacrifices of the Old Testament by offering the one new and eternal sacrifice of his own body and blood.
The design of our new altar seeks to reflect both the twofold nature of our Eucharistic celebration. The shape makes it recognisable as a table; a table which the entire community of the baptised are called to gather around to feast at the meal that leads us to the heavenly banquet. Its stone fabrication alludes to the sacrificial altars of the past, and communicates to us that the altar represents Christ himself, who sacrificed his own life for the redemption of all humankind.