Gospel / John 6:51-58
Jesus said to the Jewish 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.”
A lot of Christians (and non-Christians) really struggle with the concept of eating the Flesh of Christ and drinking His Blood. They have cannibalistic images in their heads and see this declaration of Jesus through their Earthly lenses. But, God’s Wisdom allows us to see past the surface on this one. If you recall, the Mother of the Sons of Zebedee (St. James and St. John) once made a very profound request of Jesus. “What do you want?” He asked. She answered, “Declare that in Your kingdom one of these two sons of mine will sit at Your right hand, and the other at Your left.” “You do not know what you are asking, Jesus replied. “Are you able to drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We are able,” the brothers answered. “You will indeed drink My cup,” Jesus said. “But to sit at My right or left is not Mine to grant. These seats belong to those for whom My Father has prepared them.” Matthew 20:21-23 As Saints, we are all able to drink from the cup that Christ drank from – it’s all about making a choice to live like Him. When we take His Body and Blood each week at Mass, we are “choosing” to take Him into our Beings; into our Souls; and, into our Hearts. It was no different when the Jews with Moses ate the Manna that God dropped down to them from the Heavens; or when they drank the Water from the Rock. Notice the symbolism here? Jesus claims to be the Manna, itself, when He proclaims that, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven” in this week’s Gospel. We, too, can be Holy. The moment we accept Christ in our Hearts (whether through Mass’ Communion or in the parking lot at the supermarket) we are instantly Holy. The real challenge is continually remaining in that Christ-like, Holy State. That’s done through perpetual Love. As always, it’s a choice we can make each and every moment in our days if we listen, trust, and obey.