Pondering the Fifth Luminous Mystery
The Eucharist isn't just a symbol, and here's why.
As we were praying the rosary tonight, we were meditating upon the Luminous mysteries, John Paul II's gift to the devotion. These are Christ's baptism in the Jordan, the wedding at Cana, the proclamation of the Kingdom, the Transfiguration, and the institution of the Eucharist.
As we began the Our Father on the last mystery, the institution of the Eucharist, I saw an image of Christ at the Last Supper and heard a voice interiorly, that implored, "How can I stay with you?"
Immediately, my mind went to that precious night. The Apostles are all there, Judas hasn't betrayed Him yet, and they are all breaking bread together. I'm reminded that not 24 hours later from this moment, Jesus would be dead. Brutally tortured, humiliated, spit upon, made to carry His cross, and finally crucified for our sin. He begrudged none of it. But He knew that death coming.
When someone knows that they're in their final hours, they prioritize exactly what needs to be done, what words need to be said, what people they want to see to give a proper, heartfelt, and peaceful goodbye. Would it be any different for Our Lord? True Man would have no less of a desire, but only so much greater.
In His last hours, He did something so big, so seemingly crazy, that people left Him because it was too hard. They couldn't accept it. They didn't trust Him enough to hear Him out. They just left.
In His Divine glory as True God, He gave us this most beautiful and humble way to stay with us: He gave us ordinary bread.
In His last hours, Christ didn't want to give us something that was nothing more than a picture on the wall. The Word Made Flesh became for us the Bread Made Flesh. He told us it was true in St. John's gospel in chapter 6, "My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink." People were horrified. This man Who they thought was the Messiah was now promoting cannibalism, so they stuck to the letter of the law and threw aside the fact that their hearts knew Him to be the Son of God. They didn't imagine that His full creative power and authority could find a way. They couldn't get past the mental image and just said no, No, NO. Even the mind's eye can lack faith.
But Christ had humbled Himself once before when He came down from Heaven to be a zygote, then an embryo, then a fetus, then a baby, growing in the womb of His mother. The One Who created her now grew inside of His own creation, for nine long months. The same God who made the sun and the stars and every ocean humbled Himself to begin life as a one-celled Being in a human being. Awesome.
We have to ask ourselves, Why would He not humble Himself again? He took on a tangible body once before, beginning His time as True Man as utterly unrecognizable from the King of the Universe; would hiding Himself in bread really be more difficult? Not for Him, but surely for us.
When you think about it, I can't help but think it's outrageous: Jesus Christ, *truly* Present in a piece of bread? And then I think about His last supper here on earth, with the knowledge that He would die shortly after...what was on His Mind?
True God and True Man was giving us His very Heart. He knew that as True God, He would rise again and ascend back to Heaven. But as True Man, He bore flesh and blood in this world where we relate to each other through our senses.
And so the greatest miracle of all time came to be. Christ invites us to experience CommUNION with Him at Table, where we can see, taste, touch, and smell His humble disguise of bread, but in reality, we receive His Most Sacred Heart. We walk by faith, believing what He promised in John 6, and knowing in our hearts, that He really and truly IS the Bread of Life.