A Morsel of Bread and a Sip of Wine (Who Could Believe That?)

Yesterday’s Mass was the third of five Sundays during which we hear from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel – what is termed the “Bread of Life Discourse.” Yesterday’s passage ended with Jesus’ words, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of his bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”

The visiting priest at Our Lady of Lourdes in Minneapolis (where Elena was singing at the 11:00 Mass) began his homily with the story of a man who experienced Job-like suffering, but who always returned good for whatever evil or suffering he faced. When he got to heave and was asked to choose anything he would like, he asked that he be able to begin each day with a warm roll. The priest extolled his simplicity, contrasting it with the complexity of our lives and desires.

We do tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. Not only are our lives complex, but we look for complex answers to big questions. But it is really quite simple, as revealed by a line shared by the priest that was used with great frequency by one of his theology teachers: It’s all about a morsel of bread and a sip of wine. It is as simple as that.

And that is the the message of today’s Gospel. It is the central message of our faith, which is the reason we hear all of this chapter of John’s Gospel in every three-year cycle. The message that all of the nourishment we need is found in Christ.

At every celebration of the Mass, we receive Christ in the form of bread and wine transformed into Christ’s body and blood.

Some may ask, the priest suggested, “Who could believe that?”

I do.