By Christopher Wells
“Going to Mass and receiving Communion” is very important, Pope Francis said at Sunday’s Angelus, “because to receive Communion is to receive this living Christ, who transforms us interiorly, and prepares us for heaven.”
The Holy Father based his reflection on Sunday’s Gospel reading, which contains the second part of Jesus’ discourse on the Eucharist. Jesus presents Himself to us as “the living bread come down from heaven,” and adds, “the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world.”
Entering into communion with Him
When the Lord says, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you,” the people understand that “He is inviting them to enter into communion with Him, to ‘eat’ Him, His humanity, to share with Him” His gift of life for the world.
Anticipating heaven on earth
“This bread of life, the sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, comes to us given freely at the table of the Eucharist,” the Pope said. “Around the altar we find that which feeds us and quenches us spiritually today and for eternity. Each time we participate at the Holy Mass, in a certain sense, we anticipate heaven on earth, because from the Eucharistic food, the Body and Blood of Jesus, we learn what eternal life is.”
Jesus, he continued, never grows tired “of inviting us to His banquet in order to satiate ourselves with Him, ‘the living bread come down from heaven’.” When we nourish ourselves on this bread, Pope Francis concluded, “we are able to enter into full harmony with Christ, with His sentiments, with His way of acting.”