“Your ancestors ate manna in the desert, but they died.” (John 6:49)
What a morbid thing to say!
The ancestors, our ancestors, the original pilgrims seeking the Promised Land, freed from slavery, bearing the Commandments in the Ark. The Almighty showed His love and providence not only by dividing the Red Sea for them, but also by feeding them Himself, directly from heaven.
We have no identity; we have no holy Scriptures; we would have had no ancient Temple and no Holy of Holies in it—were it not for the venerable ancestors, who walked alongside Moses, arrayed as the twelve tribes of Israel.
But they died.
What a cynical thing to say!
Worms slither and cavort along the creases of their rotting bones. Their tibias and fibias serve as rollercoasters and waterslides for the earthworms.
How could our Lord Jesus Christ speak so coarsely? “They died.” The original Chosen People, who sang to the Lord as He covered Himself in glory, with Miriam dancing, tambourine in hand. “They died.” They ate manna in the desert. But then what happened? They died.
Do we go too far to say that the Mass is a matter of life and death?
Let’s consider some of the great exploits of the 20th century. Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity. But what happened to him? He _____. The Wright brothers gave us the airplane; Henry Ford mass-produced the automobile; Steve Jobs gave us Apple Computer, Inc. But, wouldn’t you know it! They all _____. Josef Stalin took over half of Europe, but… Neil Armstrong walked on the moon! Wow! Then… Michael Jackson went mult-multi-platinum and then ______.
Hard. It’s a hard business. People live through beautiful springs and smell the roses in the garden and eat lots of delicious omelets and fruits and berries and such things, but, before you know it,…
My point is: the Mass is a matter of life and death. The Bread of Life lives, never to die more. The Father draws us to Him, so that we might truly live.