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Scripture reflections: 'This is the bread come down from heaven'

 |  12 June 2017

Lectionary readings

First reading: Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16

Psalm: Psalms 147

Second reading: 1 Corinthians 10:16-17

Gospel: John 6:51-58

Link to readings.

Introduction

This week we celebrate the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. For us, this has a two-fold meaning – we celebrate God’s gift of Himself, His body and blood, in the Eucharist and, as we share in His life, we become the Body of Christ, His Church.

In the First Reading Moses asks us to remember how, in the midst of great hardship, God kept His people alive in the desert by giving them manna from heaven and water from bare rock, so that they might learn that life is more than material things.

Everything we have is gift; our lives depend on the goodness and faithfulness of God. In response, we sing a psalm of praise and gratitude to God for all His gifts.

As we come to receive the bread and wine that are the Body and Blood of Christ, we do not do this only as individuals, but as the one body of God’s people, sharing one loaf (Second Reading). Jesus tells us that He gives Himself for our life and for the life of the world, so that everyone who eats the bread that is Himself will draw life from Him. Christ will live in us and we will live in Him for ever (Gospel).

First Reading

Deuteronomy 8:2-3, 14-16

The Book of Deuteronomy is the record of Moses’ final words to the people of Israel, given at the end of their long journey through the desert, just before entering the Promised Land. Moses asks the people to remember God’s faithfulness, and reaffirms God’s continuing covenant with his people.

As I come to pray, I may like to use some symbol of God’s faithful presence. Perhaps I light a candle in my place of prayer, or focus on an object that means something special to me.

Slowly, I settle down to become quiet... and I read the scripture passage, pausing when a word or phrase particularly strikes me. I may want to imagine that I am present to hear Moses speak to the people of Israel. What do I notice about him as he encourages the people to remember their experiences. How do the people react? And how do I feel as I hear him speak?

When I am ready, I allow Moses’ words to speak to me of my own life, to help me remember my own experiences... how do I feel now? I share this with the Lord as one friend to another.

Gospel

As I come to pray the gospel for this feast of Corpus Christi, the body and blood of Christ, I give myself time to become still and to prepare. Slowly I read the gospel text. Jesus is speaking with me.

I notice the impact of his words, pausing wherever the Holy Spirit draws me. How do I feel? Peaceful... Puzzled... Grateful?

I try to remain still before the Lord, perhaps resisting the temptation to try to “work it out” in my head, but simply letting his words resonate deep within me. Jesus promises that I will draw life from Him. I allow myself to rest in His life-giving presence. When I am ready, I may wish to respond.

I may also reflect that, just as I need to eat to sustain my body, Jesus invites me to receive from Him all that is essential to give my life meaning, all that is truly life-giving. I speak with the Lord about my own needs ... and those of my family and community.

I may wish to consider how, as a community, we pray to become what we eat... the body of Christ, given “for the life of the world”.

I end my prayer in gratitude to God for his love and faithfulness.

Our Father...

 

Reflections based on Prego by St Bueno's Outreach in Diocese of Wrexham

 

 

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