The Bread Of Life
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
GOD’S CURSE was in consequence transmuted to Adam: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread.”1As a result the world and all Adam’s descendants struggle and labor for the sake of a morsel of bread which many nowadays do not find and die with hunger.
Till we heard the joyful news: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”2 “This is the bread which came down from heaven – not as your fathers ate the manna, and are dead. He who eats this bread will live forever.”3
It is not ordinary bread, but as Christ said it is the true bread, a complete expression of Christ Himself. It is a revealing bread, for those who eat of it eats the truth. For that reason Christ says that it is the true bread4: “So he who feeds on Me will live because of Me.”5 “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.”6 This is the condition of those who eat the body of the living Christ. The Apostle Paul makes use of that meaning and says: “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones,”7 i.e. we have become through the mystery of eating Christ’s body, a living through Christ and in Him. We were thus wonderfully transmitted from a mere human existence to a supreme Christian existence, being considered living in the person of Christ as true children of God, invited as saints in Christ the Holy. Through the supreme revelation we have become alien from the earth, and God’s beloved instead. For Christ is alive in us and Christ’s words to the Father are thus realized: “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one.”8
Things stranger than imagination! Yet it is the truth of faith in Christ being united to Him. Christ in the Gospel of John chapter seventeen addresses God, His Father saying: “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory … that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”9
That is Jesus Christ the living bread that descended from heaven to raise us up above where the joyful homeland is that will gather His chosen from every place in the world to live with Him and see His glory: “When Christ who is our life appears then you also will appear with Him in glory.”10 “When He is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.”11
This is the essence of Christian faith and its happy objective. This is the mystery of the bread descending from above that was given to us to eat together now, in the mystery of Communion gathering us in the being of the Lord, so as to be qualified for the joyful transport to live in the Only Son’s revealed glory and be ever in His eternal blessing.
For that reason we raise our hearts with the Apostle Paul and bless His holy name saying: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”12 We greatly wonder that our place is in the midst of the saints directly in front of God, a matter that exceeds the degree of angels and heads of angels. It is the cause of our being members in Christ’s body, the body that was given to us to eat in the mystery of the Eucharist, i.e. a partnership in the feast of love which the angels look forward to. It is the greatest mystery of the Beloved to which our eyes were opened since we were suckling, just after our baptism. Halleluiah.
1 Gen 3: 19
2 John 6: 51
3 John 6: 58
4 John 6: 32
5 John 6: 57
6 Gal 2: 20
7 Eph 5: 30
8 John 17: 23
9 John 17: 24, 26
10 Col 3: 4
11 1 John 3: 2
12 Eph 1: 3, 4
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