Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus declares, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” The bread is referred to as living. Bread is good, but it’s not alive. Instead, when we take it in and it is turned by our bodies into fat or muscle or bone, then it comes alive.
But it is just the opposite with the living bread of Christ. When we take this in, we become alive in a way that we were not before. And this is why Jesus says that he is bread come down from heaven.
What is heaven? St. Paul says, “Eye has not seen, and ear has not heard . . . what God has prepared for those who love him.” Paul’s pithy remark gives us a clue: “those who love him.” Whatever heaven is, it is the realm of God, and therefore it is a realm of love.
What is the Eucharist, this heavenly food, but a participation in the love between the Father and the Son? In the Eucharist, the sacrifice of Christ is made present, and the sacrifice of Christ is the fullest expression of the love of the Father and the Son.