Jesus Christ offers us his flesh as true food and his blood as true drink. If we eat his flesh and drink his blood, we have life within us.
This time, Jesus does not spark murmuring but a quarrel. They quarrel among themselves those who do not understand how Jesus can give them his flesh to eat.
Jesus does not fail to answer those who are asking for explanation. First, he warns them that unless they eat his flesh and drink his blood, they do not have life within them. He, then, states that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood have eternal life. He further adds that he will raise them on the last day. And he offers other motives.
Clearly, then, Jesus does not take back his teaching. Rather, he doubles down on it, steadfastly and unequivocally: “My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.” He leaves out, however, the question of how. In other words, he does not give them the explanation they want.
And it is just as well. We who take offense, grumble, quarrel or refuse to believe, hardly find any explanation convincing. Often, our prejudices, presuppositions or old knowledge hinder us. This suggests, then, that to understand, one has to believe.
And so, better to accept the invitation, “Come, and you will see,” or “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Or, appetite comes with eating. Those who give, trying the Lord, will receive from him plentiful blessing (Mal 3, 10). They will see, then, that to give is to receive.
Those who accept Jesus’ invitation see how life-giving are his flesh and blood. They get to understand that to die is to live.
Jesus reveals the mystery of his person to those who, taking the leap of faith, go to him. He makes them see that foolishness means wisdom, loss salvation, self-emptying fullness, the cross exaltation, life death. He opens their eyes as they eat his flesh and drink his blood. Just as he opened the eyes of the two disciples at Emmaus.
Just as Jesus opened the eyes of the one who finally surrendered himself decidedly to him and to the poor. The latter, filled with the Spirit and remaining in Jesus, became a mystic of charity. He loved God and saw to it that others love him, too (SV.EN XII:215). He got to recognize Jesus and to state unequivocally, “Jesus Christ is our father, our mother and our all (SV.EN V:537).
Lord Jesus, draw us and make us come to you. We will thus grasp the full meaning of your teaching that your flesh is true food and your blood, true drink.
19 August 2018
20th Sunday in O.T. (B)
Prov 9, 1-6; Eph 5, 15-20; Jn 6, 51-58