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This morning I realized I was a full week behind with my reading from this Easter season’s Little White Book so I took some time before work to catch up. When I got to today’s reading for 16 May 2014, Friday of the Fourth Week of Easter, I couldn’t help but look upwards, smile and give thanks. Unbeknownst to me, today’s reading is based on John 6:55-56, the very passage about which I wrote and posted as The Bread of Life just last night. Believe me, folks, I had no idea I would be reading more about this today.

I think it is His way of reinforcing what He just taught me.

Because today’s entry from The Little White Book perfectly complements my reflections on receiving the Eucharist, I feel obligated to reprint the passage here.

(The following is reprinted from The Little White Book, Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw, Inc., ®2013 Diocese of Saginaw)

“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” (Jn 6:55-56)

This week Jesus leaves no room for hedging or metaphor. He speaks flat out, straight: “This is my flesh…This is my blood.”

He doesn’t say, “My body, my presence.” He says, “This is my flesh.” And he doesn’t just say those who “take in” his body. He says those who feed on his flesh and drink his blood.

It’s real, literal, graphic.

It seems like there are two ways of receiving Communion. One is as a child who tends to see Communion as almost a spiritual dessert.

Another way is to become part of Jesus and the way he lived. The moment of sharing Eucharist is meant to be a moment of conversion. When I receive the Lord, I’m consciously saying, “Yes, I want to live Jesus’ way. I want his way to be part of who I am.”

The Eucharist isn’t a reward I receive after I have put my life entirely in order. It is in itself a conversion experience, part of the ongoing change and reform that is involved in following the Lord.

It’s the reward I receive now.

(The post The Reward I Receive Now was first published in Reflections of a Lay Catholic)