O Sacred Banquet in which Christ becomes our food,
the memory of His passion is celebrated,
the soul is filled with grace,
and the pledge of future glory is given to us.
You gave them Bread from heaven:
Containing every blessing.
This short verse in honor of the Eucharist begins every office prayed in the chapel for the Dominican community. Through this verse, we honor Christ not only as the great and endless feast of grace, but we also recognize the Eucharist as the gift of His true body and blood that comes to us, in all its reality, in the sacrifice of the Mass. As the pledge of future glory, Christ gives us a foretaste of the beatitude we will have when He comes again. He is the bread of heaven, the bread of angels, the bread of life, the bread of thanksgiving, the life-giving bread, the holy manna in the desert. He is the food that sustains us. He is the unleavened bread given to the Israelites which they carried with them into the desert on the night of the Passover. He is the bread of the temple given to King David and his men, which fortified them on their mission (1 Sm 21:4-8). He is the bread given to Elijah and the widow in Zarephath (1 Kgs 17:8-16), which endured through the drought. He is the bread provided by the angel to Elijah under the broom tree, which sustained him on his flight from his foes (1 Kgs 19:5-8). He is the bread of the finest wheat, promised by God through the Psalmist (Ps 81:17). He is the bread multiplied for the multitudes after Jesus taught them on the mount (Mt 14:13-21). He is the Living Bread come down from heaven (Jn 6:51).
We recognize in today’s first reading and psalm the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist. The word Eucharist is from the Greek eukaristos, which means grateful, and is now usually translated as thanksgiving. May we never forget to thank Him for His gift, which comes not in the mere symbols of water and wheat only, but in His true body, blood, soul, and divinity. Praised be Jesus Christ who, in this sacred and solemn banquet, provides for our every hunger.
O God, in this wonderful Sacrament, you have given us a memorial of your Passion.
Help us, we beg you, so to revere the Sacred Mysteries of your Body and Blood,
that we may constantly feel within our lives the fruits of your Redemption.
You who live and reign forever and ever. Amen.
Image: Pope Francis celebrating Mass in the Sistine Chapel after his election