Meditation and Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion(Deuteronomy 8:2-3,14-16; Psalm 147:12-15,19-20; 1 Corinthians 10:16-17; John 6:51-58)
Remembering Who We are Receiving in the Eucharist
Be careful not to forget the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:11)
The Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, and Moses wanted to make sure that they would stay faithful to God once they were established in their new home. So he gathered them together and recounted all that God had done for them during their desert journey.
Moses recalled the ten plagues and the parting of the Red Sea. He reminded them that during their years of wandering the desert, “the clothing did not fall from you in tatters, nor did your feet swell” (Deuteronomy 8:4). And most important, he reminded them how God had fed them every day with manna. If they could just remember God’s goodness, the people would be more willing to serve the Lord and put their trust in him.
Fast-forward to the Last Supper, when Jesus first instituted the Eucharist, telling us, “Do this in memory of me” (Luke 22:19). Just as Moses told the Israelites, Jesus now asks us to remember him and his goodness. He wants us to keep in mind all that the Mass represents: his incarnation as a man, his teachings, his mercy, his miracles, and his death and resurrection. He has told us that as we break the bread in memory of him, he will be with us, feeding us with his own divine life and grace.
How blessed we are! The manna sustained the Israelites during their earthly journey, but Jesus’ bread of life sustains us for eternal life. The manna came from heaven down to earth, but the bread of life comes from the earth and lifts us up to heaven. The manna reminded the people of the Lord, but the bread of life is the Lord.
So when you receive Communion today, remember who you are receiving and what he did for you—and don’t forget it for the rest of the day! Remembering will help you stay focused on your eternal heritage. It will help you obey God’s commands. And most important, it will convince you that nothing can separate you from the love of God!
“Jesus, help me to remember your love today and every day.”
(Many thanks to The Word Among Us (www.wau.org) for allowing us to use meditations from their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission. The Word Among Us Mass Edition contains all the Mass readings and prayers, and a meditation for each of the daily and Sunday Masses.)
Questions for Reflection or Group Discussion
- The first reading tells us to “remember” what the Lord has done for us and not to “forget” him. And yet it is so easy “forget” his great love for us when we are going through a difficult time. We can often receive the Eucharist in a blank or unfocused manner. How would you describe what Jesus did for you on the Cross? How can you better use your memory of the Lord’s great love for you, and what he has done for you through his death and resurrection, in preparing to receive Christ in the Eucharist?
- We are also told we are to be fed by “every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord”. What steps can you take to better incorporate Scripture reading in your day and “remember” them during the day?
- The responsorial psalm tells of all the wonderful things God has done: he has “strengthened,” “blessed,” “granted peace,” and “proclaimed his word” to us. And “with the best of wheat he fills” us. The word “eucharist” means thanksgiving. What are the things you are thankful to the Lord for?
- In the second reading from the letter to the Corinthians, St. Paul says that because we all partake of the same loaf, “we, though many, are one body.” What do these words mean to you, especially when you consider our “separated brethren” in other denominations or divisions within our family and parish, and among friends, colleagues, and neighbors? What impact do you think praying for those you are “separated” from will have on future reconciliation? Are you willing to create a list of people to pray for who are separated from you? If not, why not?
- In the Gospel reading, Jesus tells us that “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” What are the little things you can do during the day to make yourself more aware of Jesus’ presence in you?
- The meditation reminds us that when we receive Communion to “remember who you are receiving and what he did for you—and don’t forget it for the rest of the day!” It goes on to say that this “Remembering will help you stay focused on your eternal heritage. It will help you obey God’s commands. And most important, it will convince you that nothing can separate you from the love of God!” What steps can you take before Mass to increase your own “remembering” of what you are receiving? What steps can you take after Mass?
- Take some time now to pray that you would experience more deeply what you are receiving in the Eucharist. Use the prayer at the end of the meditation as the starting point.