The food that endures for eternal life.

In J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, a group of characters sets out on a dangerous quest.   At one point, they are given a special kind of bread called lembas, one bite of which had the power to sustain someone for an entire day.   Now that’s “food that endures”!

In scripture, Jesus speaks of another “food that endures”—his own Body and Blood in the Eucharist.   Like the lembas, it’s a gift freely given to us.   But unlike lembas, it’s not a magical food.   It’s Jesus himself.   That’s why we call it “Communion.”   When we receive Communion, we are receiving a Person, not a thing, and this Person longs to have a relationship with us.

This is the “enduring” marvel of the Eucharist.   Every time we receive Communion, Jesus invites us to join our hearts with his.   Every time, we can tell him how much we love him—and let him say the same to us.   Every Communion contains the grace to deepen our bond with Jesus so that we can experience even more of his presence, his love, and his mercy.

How can we tell that our union with Jesus is deepening?   How can we tell that it’s making a difference in our lives?   We can tell by the way our lives are changing.   When we find it easier to be patient or compassionate—even just a bit—that’s Jesus enduring in us.   When we feel a prompting to help an annoying co-worker or to reach out to a lonely neighbor, that’s Jesus.   When we ask our spouse for forgiveness or find it easier to forgive them, it’s because of our communion with the Lord.   It’s a sign that our relationship with him continues to deepen.

But Communion is not only a matter of our becoming better people.   Every time we feel joyful, that’s Jesus rejoicing with us.   When we find ourselves thanking God for answering a prayer or for the beauty of a new day, that’s Jesus.   When we find ourselves reflecting his love to someone, that’s Jesus reaching out.

The Eucharist is far more than magic bread.   It’s the Bread of Life.   It’s the food that endures to eternal life.   And Jesus loves to share it with you.

word among us