The Gospel according to John (John 6:52-59)
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.” These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, break open your word to me as I turn my hearts to you in prayer. I long to remain in you and let you remain in me. Just as you challenged the crowds with the truth of your Flesh and Blood being offered for them, you challenge me with the truth, which gives me life. And as I have prayed all week, make my heart burn while you speak to me.
Encountering Christ: In today’s gospel we learn that the key to our spiritual health is found AND centered in the Eucharist. When Jesus says ”Amen, amen” to the Jews He really was saying “Hey guys! Pay attention to this statement.”
Sometimes I think we take Jesus for granted – especially in the close encounter where we receive Eucharist at Mass on Sunday – or even daily if you are one that goes every morning to jump start your day. We repeat this sacred action so often that at some point it just becomes part of our routine while at Mass. We have to be careful and we have to go back to this gospel to re-read and process Jesus’ words giving us the command to eat His body and drink His blood in order to attain life eternal. It cannot become routine!
Think about this for a second. The Catholics are the only faith group that believes in the actual presence of Jesus in the form of the bread and wine. Other faiths memorialize Eucharist BUT do not believe in the real presence – only a remembrance. So the question for today is… do you believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. For some who are reading this reflection today, you may be asking yourselves why in the world would I ask a question like that. Well, there are a number of Catholics who do not believe in the real presence – they believe it is the same as our other Christian brothers and sisters of other faiths. This has become a sad but significant issue in our church today.
So today let’s give thanks to the Father and the Son for their love for us AND, in particular, give thanks to Jesus for leaving us Himself in the Eucharist – to receive daily if possible. What a great way to experience God internally and what a great God to allow us to share this bread of life that will sustain us for our entire earthly journey.
Closing Prayer: Jesus, your words are truth and life. Like Peter, we have believed and come to know. To whom shall we go, for you have the words of everlasting life. I will never turn away from the challenging yet life-giving words you speak to me in the Catholic Church and in your Scriptures. Speak Lord, your servant is listening!
Action for the Day: Lord, today by your grace I will renew my “yes” to you frequently. The “yes” of my baptism. The “yes” of my confirmation. The “Amen” of my first communion. The “yes” of my life’s vocation.
Sit and ponder the real presence of Jesus in the exposition of the Eucharist. What a gift to us!
This photo was taken at one of the annual Deacon Retreats where the Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament takes place all day throughout the retreat weekend.