August 16, 2015: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.” (John 6:51-58)
I imagine Jesus’ words: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” were quite frightening to all who heard them. For many, fear overwhelmed their sense of wonder. They ran away.
That seems surprising to us since we know Jesus was talking about the Eucharist. However, it took humankind a long time to understand that mystery. That started with people brave enough to go back to listen to and follow Jesus’ reassuring words about the bread that came from heaven and those who eat this bread will live forever.
Much later in Jesus’ ministry came the Passover meal with his Disciples. Jesus blessed the bread, broke it and said, “This is my body which will be given for you.”
After Jesus’ death and resurrection, followers of His were walking to Emmaus. They were afraid because they did not fully understand. A man walked with them and explained. At the evening meal, they finally recognized Jesus as He blessed and broke the bread.
Jesus was alive. He was the bread of life. He would be there to raise His followers on the last day.
As you receive the Eucharist give some thought to what it means to remain in Jesus. Does your heart whisper something to learn or do for Jesus?