A Invitation to Nourishment We Now Celebrate

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6:51-58.

Jesus said to the crowds:
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 
Jesus said to them,
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you do not have life within you. 
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day. 
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. 
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me. 
This is the bread that came down from heaven. 
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”


Reflection

Jesus graphic challenge to the Jews is startling. While most spiritual teachers challenge their disciples to listen and obey, Jesus asks his disciples to eat His flesh and drink His blood as a requirement for salvation. Along with this, He claims three things: that His flesh and blood is true food and drink, that through it the disciple remains in Him, and that the disciple may receive life.

At the heart of the challenge is the eternal truth of man: we cannot live without nourishment. We take life in order to continue on living. We raise poultry and livestock, and gardens and orchards, to provide food – life for a life. Jesus, the Incarnate Source of Life, offers His very self: His truth, His flesh, and His friendship, that we might receive Life in its fullness.

This truth is celebrated in the Eucharistic liturgy, when we perpetuate this promise of nourishment and presence every time we celebrate Mass and receive Holy Communion. What was taught by Jesus, written in Scriptures, is lived and celebrated in the Church. It is Life Himself for our lives.


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