“ Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death saying: ‘ This is enough, O Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers’.” We are but a day’s journey in the desert and we, like Elijah, often are tempted and give in to a weariness that is much like his, sitting down to die as he did under the broom tree. Jesus the Lord, present in the Eucharist and much more than a mere hearth cake and jug of water, calls out to us to get up and eat, so that we too may walk again. We are the people of life, and our journey of 40 days and 40 nights is our witness to the love and life of God in Christ. We are missionaries of Life sent for apostolate in the desert of today’s world.
Many in the Church have become weary in the struggle for life and forget sometimes that the fight for every human life is, at the same time, a fight for our own lives. We are people of the Lord only as much as His heart becomes our heart, only as much as His love becomes in us incarnate once again in indiscriminate love for every human person from the moment of conception until natural death. Life is sacred in all its stages and conditions.
The weariness of life is heard in the voice of the man or woman who says, “ How could I bring a child into a world like this?” How many times have we heard such murmuring in hostility toward new life? “ What if I bring my child into the world only to see Him rejected by His own people, spat upon, mocked, beaten, scourged, crowned with thorns, stripped of His garments and then crucified like a common criminal?” Mary could very well have responded to Gabriel’s announcement of the Incarnation in just this way. But, as our Lady knows, every child is a sign of God’s will that life should go on.
The evil of the cult of death persists in the antilife mentality that questions the right to life of every child and the duty of husband and wife to generously accept the gift of “ children lovingly from God.” ( The Marriage Rite). This condition is pervasive because it is often insidiously disguised as good. The cult of death thrives upon the widely held error that the evil in the world and the suffering it brings make life itself intolerable. But life is created by God and therefore always good, no matter how bruised by suffering or eclipsed by pain. Christ’s Passion and death have given salvific meaning and spiritual wealth to our suffering. Men and women who forget they are created by the loving God of eternal life lose sight of the eternal human vocation to holiness and happiness with God Himself. In an environment that does not lovingly and generously accept every human life as sacred, the disease and sickness of the cult of death thrive and grow. The Eucharist, the Body and Blood of our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, stands as the greatest sign of contradiction against the lies peddled today that spread the cult of death. The “ Bread of Life,” multiplied abundantly on the altars of the world to feed all mankind, calls all men to recognize their own dignity. All are called to receive the flesh of Christ given for the life of the world and thus reach beyond this world with its broken promises, sins and suffering, to the eternal joy of the wedding banquet of the Lamb.
“ Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you” ( John 6: 27). In intimate communion with our Lord present in the Eucharist we are inoculated against the peddlers of death with their abortion, abortifacient contraception, birth control, infanticide, unchaste sex education, and euthanasia, the arsenal of the cult of death which has declared outright war upon God and human life. The members of our society who tolerate the abomination of anti-life policies and practices are in love with their own shadows in monstrous self-absorption and condemn themselves to eternal death. Christians are called to turn away from selfishness in order to focus upon the image of Christ in the Eucharist; to be led not into the temptation of false hopes and empty promises, but to eternal life itself.
We labor “ for the food which endures to eternal life” when we reverently and frequently receive the Bread of Life, and then go forth bravely and calmly into the world — with its murder- sprees, rampant infanticide, and glorification of perversion — confident that, as Christ promised, “ I have overcome the world.” And we overcome the world with Him, we share in His victory, as we adore and receive Him in the Eucharist with a clear conscience. We look forward to the life of Heaven to come in and through the Eucharist. By this divine gift we are in communion with the Paschal Lamb whom we receive and who continually unites us to Himself and the Father in Heaven.
“ I am the living bread which came down from Heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh” (John 6:51). The gift of God’s Flesh and Blood is a living and divine sign that life should go on forever and ever. Begin eternity today by kneeling in worship of our Incarnate God present in all the tabernacles of the world.
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