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The Bread from Heaven and the Holy Eucharist by Obiorah Phil

The Bread from Heaven and the Holy Eucharist 

Author: Obiorah Phil Ifenna

Christianity is a reality that is based on faith and beliefs. One of this is a belief that the Old Testament people were fed with bread from heaven. The first reading (from the Roman missal) of the eighteenth Sunday of the ordinary time concludes: 

“This is the bread that the LORD has given you to eat” (Cf. Ex.15:16). On this the responsorial psalm re-echoes: 

“The Lord gave them bread from heaven” (Cf. Ps.73:24b). The reality of ‘the bread from heaven’, seen in the Old Testament, triggers a faith-based reflection into its very correspondence in the New Testament. 

For many, this bread later became known as the Holy Eucharist.

The reality of the Eucharist – holy and sacred, has evoked lots of thoughts down the centuries. Agreed by many theologians that it has developed from the idea of ‘the bread from heaven’, seen in the Old Testament. Indeed, the pre-figurement of this sacred reality in the form of bread began as far back as Genesis.

In that ‘Book of the Beginning’, we saw the first sacrifice of thanksgiving offered to God by Melchizedek - King of Salem, the High Priest (Cf. Gen.14:17-20). Since this took place in the Abrahamic period, this was the first sacrifice of Bread (and wine) to be offered in the Old Testament. 

On this Thomas Aquinas concludes: “In relation to what is sacrament only, the chief figure of this sacrament was the oblation of Melchizedek, who offered up bread and wine” (ST III, q. 73, a. 6). 

Reflection on the Eighteenth Sunday of the Ordinary Time

  •  1st August, 2021

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