Father Cantalamessa on Bread and Wine
Pontifical Household Preacher on This Sunday's Gospel
ROME, AUG. 19, 2006 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of a commentary by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher to the Pontifical Household, on this Sunday's Gospel reading on the solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity.
* * *
My Blood Is Drink Indeed
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."
The Gospel passage continues the reading of chapter 6 of John. The new element is that to the discourse on bread Jesus adds that of wine; to the image of food he adds that of drink, the gift of his flesh and of his blood. Here, Eucharistic symbolism reaches its culmination and totality.
Last week we said that to understand the Eucharist, it is important to begin with the signs chosen by Jesus. Bread is the sign of food, of communion among those who eat it together; through it he comes to the altar and all human work is sanctified. Let us ask the same question for the blood.
What does the word blood mean to us and what does it evoke? In the first place, it evokes all the suffering that exists in the world. If, therefore, in the sign of bread man's work comes to the altar, in the sign of blood all human pain also comes there. It comes to be sanctified and to receive meaning and the hope of rescue thanks to the blood of the immaculate Lamb, to which it is united as drops of water mixed with wine in the chalice.
But, why, precisely, did Jesus choose wine to signify his blood? Just because of the affinity of color? What does wine represent for men? It represents joy, celebration; it does not represent usefulness so much (as bread does) but delight. It is not only made to drink, but also to toast. Jesus multiplied the loaves because of the people's need, but in Cana he multiplied the wine for the delight of the guests. Scripture says that "wine gladdens man's heart and bread strengthens it" (Psalm 104:15).
If Jesus had chosen bread and water for the Eucharist, he would only have indicated the sanctification of suffering ("bread and water" are in fact synonymous with fasting, austerity and penance). By choosing bread and wine he also wished to indicate the sanctification of joy. How wonderful it would be if we also learned to live the joys of life in a Eucharistic manner, that is, in thanksgiving to God. God's presence and look do not cloud our honest joys; on the contrary, they enlarge them.
But, in addition to joy, wine also evokes a grave problem. In the second reading we hear this warning of the Apostle: "Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit." He suggests that inebriation with wine be combated with "the sober inebriation of the Spirit," one inebriation replaced with another.
At present there are many initiatives of recovery among people with problems of alcoholism. They try to use all the means suggested by science and psychology. They cannot but be encouraged and supported. But those who believe should not neglect the spiritual means, which are prayer, the sacraments and the word of God.
In the work, "The Russian Pilgrim," a true story is told. A soldier addicted to alcohol and threatened with being discharged went to a holy monk to ask him what he should do to overcome his vice. The monk ordered him to read a chapter of the Gospel every night before going to bed.
The soldier acquired a Gospel and began to read it diligently. But soon after he returned desolate to the monk to tell him: "Father, I am too ignorant and I don't understand anything of what I read! Give me something else to do."
The monk replied: "Just continue reading. You don't understand, but the devils understand and tremble." The soldier did so and was freed from his vice. Why not give this a try?
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Cantalamessa, Gospel, Liturgy, Holy, Trinity
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Pope Francis offers Egypt a special video message - 'I am honoured to ...
- Daily Reading for Thursday, April 27th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Wednesday, April 26, 2017
- Decades-old conundrum solved by chance - Can one of nature's squiggly ...
- A Christian miracle took place at the White House, so why isn't the ...
- Cherokee Nation sues drug distributors while CDC claims opioid deaths ...
- St. Cletus: Saint of the Day for Wednesday, April 26, 2017
- st. nicholas
- st john the baptist
- daily readings
- saint george
- saint james
- Saint Patrick
- st. francis
- st. jude
- st. peter
- mother theresa
- st james
- st joan of arc
- advent prayers
- St Joseph
- ten commandments
- Pope Francis
- saint agnes
- St Anthony
- 10 commandments
- mary magdalene
- Day 5 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Day 4 - Novena for Workers, the Unemployed and Underemployed HD
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 HD
- France's Presidential Runoff: Another choice between a nationalist and a globalist HD
Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.