“But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah
too small to be among the clans of Judah,
From you shall come forth for me
one who is to be ruler in Israel;
Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.”
— Micah 5:1
The little town of Bethlehem is also known as King David’s city. For that reason alone, to fulfill the line of David, it is significant that Christ is born in Bethlehem. But there’s a deeper meaning hidden in the Christmas story. Bethlehem means “house of bread.” Already, at Christ’s birth, he’s pointing us to the Eucharist. Saint Luke points to this mystery by using the same word in the story of the Nativity for “inn” that he uses in the story of the Last Supper for the “upper room.” The Lord, who was laid in a manger as a baby because there was no room in the inn finishes his life’s work in the upper room, giving us the Eucharist! The handing on of the Eucharist in the upper room makes it possible for every altar, for every heart to become a Bethlehem, a place to receive Christ the Lord.
LET US PRAY
Mary, Joseph, the angels, the shepherds, and the Magi all worshiped you, Lord, first at Bethlehem. Grant me a share of their devotion, that my heart might become a worthy house for the bread of heaven. Amen.
PRAYER TO THE EUCHARIST
O God, who in this wonderful Sacrament have left us a memorial of your Passion, grant us, we pray, so to revere the sacred mysteries of your Body and Blood that we may always experience in ourselves the fruits of your redemption. Who live and reign with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
-Collect for the Feast of Corpus Christi, composed by St. Thomas Aquinas