Engaging the Gospel – John 6:51-58

20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B): Gospel – John 6:51-58

“The Eucharist is revealed as man’s unceasing great encounter with God,” Benedict XVI observes. “For us this food must become an opening out of our existence, a passing through the Cross, and an anticipation of the new life in God and with God” (Jesus of Nazareth, Vol. 1, p. 270).

As the name of this great sacrament implies,

Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus…Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet.

— Catechism paragraph 1391.

But this fruit of union presupposes that we are already in the state of grace, or right relationship with God. If we have broken our relationship with God through grave sin, we “must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion” (1385).

A corollary of growing in union with Christ is becoming detached from sin:

Holy Communion separates us from sin…The Eucharist strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life…By giving Himself to us, Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments to creatures and root ourselves in Him…

By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. The more we share the life of Christ and progress in His friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from Him by mortal sin.

— paragraphs 1393-1395.

By fortifying us in our struggles, and increasing our union with God, the Eucharist prepares us for eternal life. It is “a pledge of the life to come” and “an anticipation of the heavenly glory” (1402).

Question for reflection: What impact does the Eucharist have on the way I live my life?

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