Gospel Reflection June 18 – Deacon Paul

 

Sunday, June 18

The Solemnity of the Body & Blood of Christ

John 6: 51 – 58

 

Gospel:
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.”

 

Reflection:
In the gospel according to John, Jesus compares himself to the manna with which God fed the people of Israel. Like manna, Jesus is the bread that comes from heaven. However, Jesus is a better food than manna. Jesus tells the people, “Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Besides physical hunger, we experience another hunger, a hunger that cannot be satisfied with ordinary food. It’s a hunger for life, a hunger for love, a hunger for eternity. Jesus says, “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The bread that Jesus gives us is His life, His death, and His resurrection for our salvation.

In our busy lives, we are exposed all the time to other “offers of food” which do not come from the Lord and at times can appear to be more satisfying to us. Sometimes we nourish ourselves with financial wealth, other times it might be success and vanity, and at other times it might be power and pride. No matter what these other sources of food might be in our lives, the only food that can truly nourish us and satisfy us is that which is given to us by the Lord.

Jesus instructs us that the Eucharist is the “new manna,” the new bread from heaven, the new way that God gives us daily sustenance. If we truly appreciate it and understand it, we go to the Eucharist with a desire to stay alive. The Eucharist is meant to be God’s regular nourishment for us, daily manna to keep us alive within the desert of our lives.

Deacon Paul Zemanek