Living Bread (Nineteenth Ordinary)

At this, because he said, “I am the Bread that came down from heaven,” the Jews started arguing over him: “Isn’t this the son of Joseph? Don’t we know his father? Don’t we know his mother? How can he now say, ‘I came down out of heaven’ and expect anyone to believe him?” (John 6:  41 – 42)

I received a phone call recently from a man I’ve never met who goes to my church. Someone – he couldn’t remember who – gave him my name and number because they thought I would be interested in committing one hour a week to adore the Eucharist in our Perpetual Adoration chapel. It’s this man’s job to make sure we have adores there 24/7. I’m a very early riser so I decided to take a before-dawn slot time slot, which he said he has a rather hard time filling. My church is a few blocks from my house and it sounded a nice way to start the day. But the first time I did it, I felt anything but peaceful. I’d never adored before, and I discovered it’s incredibly hard, at least for me, to sit quietly and pray for that long! I walked out feeling restless and agitated – like I’d failed somehow. I chatted briefly with the young woman who showed up for the next shift – an acquaintance – the kind of person who, unlike me, seems to have serenity down pat, and she told me how much she enjoys adoring the Eucharist: “Jesus and I just look at each other for a whole hour, and I feel so loved for who I am”.

I realised I’d missed the point that Jesus is actually present, which of course makes the encounter a two-way exchange. It wasn’t just me doing all the work of adoring. By being there, Jesus was loving me back. And then it wasn’t work at all.