Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reflection: John 6:60-69

Sunday of the 21st Week in Ordinary Time — John 6:60-69

Today’s Gospel reading is a continuation of last Sunday’s reading when Jesus tells his listeners that he is “the Bread of Life.” This theme is continued today. Jesus says: “I am the living bread come 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.” Did the disciples and his listeners have a clue what Jesus was talking about? After all, he simply was an itinerant preacher. And yet here he is talking about being “living bread.” I wonder if they had any idea what he was referring to?

There were Jews in the crowd who also had come to hear Jesus preach. They began quarreling among themselves. They said: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus’ statement was ludicrous. Did they begin to think that Jesus was crazy? However, Jesus does not stop there. He continues on saying: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have eternal life. And I will raise him/her up on the last day.” Jesus continues on for a while and then he makes another fantastic statement: “Whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

As Christians, these words are very familiar to us. We understand that Jesus is not saying that we literally will eat the flesh of his body or literally drink of the blood in his body. We do understand that today we have the sacred privilege of eating the Body of Christ and drinking the Blood of Christ. What a great gift we have offered to us daily. However, I confess: it is a gift I too often take for granted. Ask yourself: do you also take this sacred privilege and gift for granted?

Today take some time to spend with Jesus. Give thanks to him for these very precious gifts he has given to us. And strive to be mindful of the preciousness of this gift when you receive the Body and Blood of Christ. Be thankful and grateful for Jesus’ boundless love for us!

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