Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 6,51-58
Jesus said to the 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.”
Peace to my brothers and sisters listening in today
1) Chewing-In todays feast of Corpus Christi, we focus our attention on the reality of the true presence. John chapter 6 is arguably the best place to find the strongest affirmation of the true presence. In this passage Jesus leaves no doubt that one must eat the flesh of the Son of man. He does so by using a specific Greek word which means chew or crunch. Ironically it is what happens next that affirms conclusively that this radical meaning was in fact clearly understood. The Gospel says from that time on many of his disciples stopped following him. It is obvious the reason they stopped following him could not have been because they understood his words symbolically. On the contrary, it was precisely because they understood him literally -that he meant an actual eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood -that caused them to reject the teaching and therefore Him.
2) The Eucharist itself has a deep and hidden intrinsic meaning in which grinding and pressing speak of the sacrificial reality of the passion.
Grounding- We begin by remembering bread comes from a grain of wheat, which Jesus once related- must fall to the earth and die in order to bear fruit. It also must be grounded into flower in order to be useful. Jesus broke open His body for us, allowing it to be scourged, beaten, crucified and even pierced. Jesus is the seed that died so that it could live, the wheat that was ground so that we could eat the bread of life.
3) Pressing. The grapes too, must be pressed and so crushed in order to make wine. Here Christ’s passion is a pouring out of himself, especially in the gushing of the blood and water from his side, is analogous of the pressing of grapes. In this way both elements unambiguously speak of the self-sacrificial dimension that is intrinsic to the passion as well as the kenosis, that is the self-emptying of the paschal mystery. This reiterates the Biblical definition of the greatest love there is- to lay down your life for your neighbor.
Today let us see through the ordinary elements of bread and wine to rediscover the self-sacrificial challenge Christ invites us each of us into desire to follow Him- that we must be ready to deny ourselves and carry our crosses and so follow His same path. Let us courageously therefore not merely receive the Eucharist but be the Eucharist today, laying down our desires, preferences and will for others.
May God bless you in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit
always remember heaven is our goal