I Am the Bread of Life

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.

14 - Anointing of Altar 3
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv anoints our new altar at its dedication, 17 December 2017

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.

4/3/12 – CommUNION

Recently, Fr Paul has written in Carmel reminding us of some matters concerning the celebration of Communion during Mass.

Communion ProcessionAsking all of us to be consistent in how we process to the front of the church and receive communion is not simply about efficiency, safety and the like.

A common bodily posture, to be observed by all those taking part, is a sign of the unity of the members of the Christian community gathered together for the Sacred Liturgy, for it expresses the intentions and spiritual attitude of the participants and also fosters them.

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 42

As Fr Paul has also reminded us, when approaching to receive communion, we are asked to bow towards the Blessed Sacrament being given to us as a sign of reverence.  This allows us to offer a common sign of reverence whilst maintaining the flow of the communion procession.

Once we have received communion, the procession continues as we return to our seats.  Everyone is encouraged to spend time in silent prayer after receiving communion, and people may choose to do this whilst kneeling or sitting.  It is only at our seat, however, that this silent prayer should take place.

Praying at the Marian Shrine or at the images of the saints, and asking for their intercession is something that many people find spiritually nourishing, but this is only appropriate before or after Mass.  During Mass, our focus is rightly upon Christ, whose death and resurrection we celebrate, and whose body and blood we receive in holy communion.

31/10/10 – More on Silence After Communion

We have been looking at the place of silence within the celebration of Mass over the past few weeks.  Last week, we looked at the place of silence during the Liturgy of the Word. 

We now conclude by returning to where we started – the period for silent prayer after communion.

During the Act of Penitence and Opening Prayer, the purpose of the periods of silence is to allow for the recollection of our thoughts and intentions.  The silent periods during the Liturgy of the Word allow us to reflect on the scriptures that are proclaimed and the message offered to us in the homily.

The period of silence after communion comes almost at the end of the Mass.  We have just received the Body and Blood of our Lord in the Eucharist.  As such, the period of silence after communion is a time for thanksgiving.

Sometimes after communion, we may also join together in singing a hymn of praise.  This allows us to collectively join in thanksgiving for the profound gift we have received, and for all the blessings we have been graced with.