The quote below concluded the Gospel reading last Sunday. The final passage from John’s 6th chapter is the stimulus for our reflection this week. Jesus tells us: “My flesh is true food and 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.” (John 6:55-57)
For the past three Sundays we’ve been reflecting on this chapter of John’s Gospel. It is a rich teaching that focuses exclusively on the Eucharist. We should return to this chapter frequently for our meditation. Through this teaching on the Bread of Life, John is opening up a profound vision of the Christian life. It’s a vision that lifts the veil between God and ourselves.
The Christian must feed on Jesus. The Christian must digest his humanity and his divinity. As our brother, Jesus lived our joys and pains. Our lives aren’t a secret to him. This knowledge opens his heart to us. He embraces us in our joys and sufferings. He loves us unconditionally. That love compels him to share his divine life with us. He offers himself totally without any hesitation. He calls out to us, “Eat my body. Drink my blood.” He holds nothing back! He offers us the gift of himself.
The Eucharist isn’t a metaphor. At the Eucharistic meal we take his body to eat, and his blood to drink. His body becomes our body. His blood becomes our blood. We, in turn, give him our body and blood. As his divine life grows within us, we can begin to give ourselves to one another as he has given himself to us. At the Eucharistic meal we become one body – one with him, and one another. Individually and as a community we become the Body of Christ.
Let’s conclude our reflection on chapter 6 with a prayer.
Jesus, my Lord and my God,
You emptied yourself of your divinity to share my human life. You poured out your life on the cross, freely opening your heart to me. You offer your life to me over and over again when you break the bread, and offer yourself to me.
Please accept what small gift I can offer you. I pray that, one day, I will be able to offer you all that I am as you offered all of yourself to me.