Aloha Friday Message – June 16, 2017 – Show me the bread

1724AFC061617 – Show me the Bread

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Aloha nui loa, ʻŌmea!

About last week: Some of you got multiple copies of the message “Koinonia.” I apologize for that. I guess my OutLook went rogue on me before I sent it out. Also, there was no Terrific Tuesday message because there was no computer access at the place we were staying. It was a nice visit – a place called The Cliffs – up on the North Shore in Princeville; it was good time to relax and rigorously avoid any “projects.” Today, we’re back in the house, we’ve cleaned up after the cats, unpacked, and we’re on schedule once more. Good to be back! And now,

Show me the Bread!

Maybe you remember that movie where the tag line was Show me the money!” I never saw the movie, but I sure remember that tagline. For me, it typified the “problem” with professional sports (among other professions) these days – MONEY-MONEY-MONEY. Sometimes we call money bread, so that’s the connection with this title. However, we’re not going to be talking about money; we’re actually going to be talking about Bread – specifically “Showbread” (or if you’re looking in the KJV “shewbread”). So let’s take a look at our key verse for today and get into the story behind it.

Exodus 25:30 30 And you shall set the bread of the Presence on the table before me always.

Leviticus 24:5-9 You shall take choice flour, and bake twelve loaves of it; two-tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf. You shall place them in two rows, six in a row, on the table of pure gold.* You shall put pure frankincense with each row, to be a token offering for the bread, as an offering by fire to the Lord. Every Sabbath day Aaron shall set them in order before the Lord regularly as a commitment of the people of Israel, as a covenant forever. They shall be for Aaron and his descendants, who shall eat them in a holy place, for they are most holy portions for him from the offerings by fire to the Lord, a perpetual due.

*The Showbread Table was described in Exodus 5:23-30. It was made of acacia wood and covered with pure gold, like this.

John 6:51-57 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” 52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55 for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56 Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.

This Sunday is June 18, 2017 – The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). On this day we remember that Christ told his Disciples, and us as well, that he is the Bread of Life come down from Heaven which was followed by the statement for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Jesus is in the Father, the Father is in Jesus, the Father and the Son live in the Unity of the Holy Spirit, and the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in those who believe. St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote: “Material food first of all turns itself into the person who eats it, and as a consequence, restores his losses and increases his vital energies. Spiritual food, on the other hand, turns the person who eats it into Itself, and thus the proper effect of this sacrament is the conversion of man into Christ, so that he may no longer live for himself, but that Christ may live in Him. And as a consequence it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual losses caused by sins and defects and of increasing the power of the virtues.” In Jesus’ discourse about the Bread of Life, he points out that God gave manna – bread from Heaven – to the Israelites. In this 6th chapter of John, he makes the claim that God is sending true bread from Heaven, himself. Jesus, eternally begotten of the Father, is eternally in the Presence of God. God showed us what this was like in the Bread of Presence, the Showbread, which was always in the Holy Place, always before God’s face, and always consumed in a holy way by God’s Holy Priests in that Holy Place.

The bread of the Servants of God and of the People was always in a Holy Place and consumed in a Holy way. The Bread of Presence was prepared in a Holy way by people specifically commissioned to mix, knead, bake, set out, and consume that bread. It was not the people who made the Bread of Presence Holy. It was instead the method and purpose of preparation that made it Holy. The manna and the Bread of Presence served as testimony that God was always with his people, always providing for them, and always keeping them in his watchful gaze. Now we have the Presence of Jesus as our Holy Bread, his flesh given up for the World. And what is that? How can that be? What is his flesh? It is belief that he has given his life for our salvation. When we believe, we use our faith to take in the Lord, to become unified with him. He is the Sacrifice that heals us of the affliction of Sin; however, WE do not sacrifice Christ.

In the Eucharist, Christ is the Altar upon which the sacrifice is made. Christ is the Priest who performs that Sacrifice. Christ is himself the Sacrifice given once for all. As we pray in Eucharistic Prayer I, Christ is truly present as “this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.” Does this mean he dies over and over at the Altar? No, of course not! He conquered death, and gives us himself in this bloodless and most Holy Sacrifice. Take a look at these passages which prove that is the case.

Romans 6:9-10 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Hebrews 9:23-28 Here we read, 25 Nor was it to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the Holy Place year after year with blood that is not his own; 26 for then he would have had to suffer again and again since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the age to remove sin by the sacrifice of himself28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

1 Peter 3:18-20 18 For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, 20 who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.

Jesus reminded the Jewish authorities of the manna as well as the Showbread and of the time that King David ate the Bread of Presence as related in 1 Samuel 21:1-6 In this passage, David entered the Tabernacle on a secret mission. He asked the Priest, Abimelech, for five loaves of bread to feed him and his troops. The Priest gave him the Bread of Presence – Showbread – which enabled him to carry out the mission. The passage ends like this: So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away. You can see Jesus’ understanding of the significance of this in Mark 2:23-28 In this passage we read, 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” 27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath; 28 so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” Yes, we believe it truly is Christ who is present in the Eucharist; we believe His true presence begins from the time of the consecration and then endures so long as the sacramental species are discernable. In that belief, we become what we eat – Holy. Perfect? No, we are not perfect or perfected. We are made WHOLE which is what holiness is. Christ is present, Christ is offered, and Christ offers the Offering.

We refer to this offering as an oblation. This is a solemn gifting of Christ’s sacrifice and ours as we look upon the True Presence with eyes enlightened by faith. (See Ephesians 1:17-19 for opening the eyes of our hearts.) An Oblation is a “meal” (grain) offering. It is the most fundamental of all offerings. In the Old Testament it is often called a “gift offering,” and the noun used in Hebrew is מִנְחָה (minkhah) {min-khah’}. During every Eucharistic Prayer there are two Oblations. The “lesser oblation” is the Offertory – this happen before the Consecration – in which the bread and wine are presented to God. During this Offertory, the Priest holds both hands over the Gifts on the Altar and blesses them. The “greater oblation,” the Oblation Proper, occurs after the consecration when the Priest, on behalf of Christ, offers God the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus as Jesus himself offers himself to his Father on our behalf. It is a truly amazing moment many people often miss even though we have opportunity to see the Bread of Life and to believe.

We see the Bread when it is offered. We see the Bread when it is consecrated. We see the Bread when is broken and elevated with the Chalice of Salvation. We see the Bread when it is given for consumption. We become the Bread when we eat the Bread and Drink the Chalice. In all of these instances after the consecration, if we see with the eyes of our hearts, we see The Precious Body and Blood of Christ – not just bread and wine. In the same way that the Bread of Presence was always before the Lord in the Holy Place, we hold the Presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle of our Hearts, and our hearts are always facing the Face of the Lord. That is why we look, that is why we eat, that is why we believe, that is why we go – so that God can show us the Bread.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Please keep praying for all our chronically ill friends and members. IDC, AD, JE, KD, RB, EP and everyone who is dealing with or has dealt with cancer and other conditions that just seems to keep hanging on. Pray also for those caught up in addictions, for children and adults who have turned to crime, and for the deep divisions and anger that are plaguing our Great Nation.

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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