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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Readings for 2 May, 2006

First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 7,51-60.8,1.

Psalms 31,3-4.6-8.17.21.

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6,30-35.

So they said to him, "What sign can you do, that we may see and believe in you? What can you do? Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, as it is written: 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'" So Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." So they said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.

Copyright © Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, USCCB

Commentary of the day: Saint Justin (around 100 – 160) Philosopher, Martyr
First Apology, 67.66 (~ AD 150)

“The true bread come down from heaven”: one of the first descriptions of the Eucharist outside of the New Testament, from the second century

On the day that is called the day of the sun [Sunday], all the inhabitants of the cities and in the country gather together in one place. The apostles’ memoirs are read as well as the writings of the prophets for as long as time allows. When the reading is finished, the person presiding is given the word to draw attention to these beautiful teachings and to exhort the people to follow them. Then all of us rise and we give prayer intentions. Afterwards, bread, wine and water are brought. With all his heart, the person presiding raises prayers and thanksgiving to heaven, and the people answer with the acclamation “Amen!”, a Hebrew word meaning: “So be it!”

We call this food the Eucharist, and no one can participate in it if he does not believe in the truth of our teaching and if he has not received the bath of baptism for the forgiveness of sins and regeneration. For we do not take this food like ordinary bread or like a common drink. Just as by the Word of God, Jes us Christ our Savior became incarnate by becoming flesh and blood for our salvation, so the food that is consecrated by the very word of his prayer and that is destined to nourish our flesh and our blood so as to transform us, is the flesh and blood of Jesus incarnate. That is our teaching. In the memoirs they left us, which we call gospels, the apostles passed on to us the recommendation Jesus gave them in this way: He took bread, he gave thanks, and he said: “Do this in memory of me; this is my body.” He also took the cup, he gave thanks, and he said: “This is my blood.” And he gave them solely to them (Mt 26:2f.; 1 Cor 11:23f.)… We all unite on the day of the sun because it is the first day, the day on which God freed matter from darkness in order to make the world, and it is the day when Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead.

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