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John 6:51-58

The Word of God

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever."

John 6:51-58
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • Jesus has given his own flesh and blood for me personally, on the cross and in the Eucharist. What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me? (Ps. 116).
    • “The living Father”. St. Ignatius says that God dwells in me and makes a temple of me. How can I respond to that living presence within me?
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    • Jesus here reveals the hospitality of God. Everyone is invited to the divine banquet: what matters is for each of us to foster our relationship with Jesus. Eating his flesh and drinking his blood is not an invitation to cannibalism, as the Jews feared. Instead, in the Eucharist the bread and wine are given a new and awesomely deep meaning: they become the very person of Jesus.
    • In the Eucharist we deepen our relationship with Jesus, not mechanically but by becoming more and more like him over the years. We meet God in this mysterious and dramatic way: God gives himself to us, and we try to shape our lives into a loving gift for God. In heaven there will be no Eucharist as we know it, because our bonding with God will then be complete.
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    • The day before this, on the far shore of the lake, Jesus had fed over five thousand people by multiplying five loaves and two fish. They now gather round him again, looking for more. He tells them that such food cannot last, just like the manna from heaven that Moses gave their ancestors in the desert.
    • The true bread which he now offers is his own flesh and blood. Understandably, the people were horrified. Many of his followers, indeed, were to leave him on hearing this.
    • Peter and the Twelve, however, remained faithful. They were with him at the Last Supper when he took some bread, blessed it and gave it to them, saying ‘Take it, and eat it, this is my body.’ This is myself. Similarly with the wine. Every time the Eucharist is celebrated, Jesus gives us himself, telling us, ‘Abide in me as I abide in you’ (John 15:4).
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    • There can hardly be a more graphic or a more surprising description of the indissoluble participation of one life in another. In Hebrew, the expression “flesh and blood” means the whole being. The reality of Christ’s presence at the Eucharist is beyond our comprehension. We are asked not to understand it, but to experience it.
    • “Abide in me” is a phrase Jesus uses over and over again. He invites us to take him into ourselves and become one with him. Then we will have real life.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • This is one of the most amazing passages in all of Scripture. For the Hebrews, flesh and blood meant the full person, so Jesus chooses this dramatic way to reveal the extraordinary intimacy of his relationship with us.
    • Bread nourishes us, so Jesus uses that term to describe himself. But ‘living’ bread is an effort to reveal more deeply how profoundly he nourishes us. He offers us a relationship in which we can ‘abide’ in security. We need that life-giving relationship more than ever to-day.
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    • The mind may have questions about what Jesus says but my prayer draws me to listen to him, heart to heart. He leads me to appreciate the closeness to which he calls me.
    • ‘Eat’, ‘live’ and ‘abide’ are all words that belong to the home. Jesus invites me to bring anything in my life that is unsettled or out of place, that it may find its home in him.
  • Some thoughts on today's scripture

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    • /I am the living bread/. Not cake, Lord. Not nourishment just for feastdays; but our daily staple diet. Through this extraordinary dispensation of the Eucharist, God identifies himself not just with humanity, but with the material world. Through this food, we become part of God as he becomes part of us.
    • What we receive in the small piece of bread or the sip of wine at the Eucharist is the gift of life from Jesus. This is a sharing in the life of God; in the fragility of the bread and wine is strong food, and joyful drink - fruit of God's creation and work of human hands. It is the gift of God who has become one of us. It is the gift of love with sacrifice. If we have put self out for others in big or small ways, or have cried for another's woes or laughed for another's joy, or held a hand in sympathy or just listened when there were no answers, we know the quality of this gift. In the Eucharist God is close in his creation, In Jesus we can recognise God near at hand. Pope Benedict writes - 'we have to rediscover God, not just any God, but the God that has a human face, because when we see Jesus Christ we see God'.
    • The mind may have questions about what Jesus says but my prayer draws me to listen to him, heart to heart. He leads me to appreciate the closeness to which he calls me.
    • ‘Eat’, ‘live’ and ‘abide’ are all words that belong to the home. Jesus invites me to bring anything in my life that is unsettled or out of place, that it may find its home in him.