When God fed the Israelites with manna from heaven, they eventually took it for granted. They got tired of it. They got bored with it, although it sustained their lives. “Why can’t we have meat?”
When Jesus fed the multitudes with a few fish and a few loaves of bread, they took it for granted. It wasn’t the wonder of the miracle that caused the crowds to follow him. They followed him to feed their bellies. It is no stretch to suppose that, if Jesus had provided an unending flow of bread and fish, the people would have eventually complained. They would have grown bored with bread and fish. “Why can’t we have lamb or steak?” If the bread and fish still flowed from the basket today people would say, “Oh yeah, the bread and fish basket. Been there done that.”
Jesus gave us more than lamb. He gave us the Lamb of God. He gave us himself. “This is my body, this is my blood. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will abide in me and I in him. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life. I give my flesh for the life of the world. Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have no life in you.”
Jesus provides an unending supply of himself to sustain us. We take him for granted. We get bored with him and we want something different. We want better music, better programs, better preaching, better pews, better buildings, better parking, better feelings, better food, better fellowship and so on. We seek to feed our bellies. We care about our own flesh, not his. Filling our fleshy appetites profits us nothing. It is the spirit and the life of Christ that sustains us (Jn 6:63).
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” It is the realization of what was foreshadowed by the manna and the fish and the loaves. There is more than enough for everyone to partake of until the end of time. It sustains us because it is Christ. The word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” There is no better way to give thanks to God than to receive his Son, Jesus Christ. We must not take the Eucharist for granted. We must not become bored with receiving Jesus.