The Gospel for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time:
John 6:51-58: “I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall 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, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”
I won’t go into a long apologetics regarding John 6 as there are better defenders of the Faith than I, except to say that it is one of the Scripture passages from which the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus is truly present in the Eucharist; His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are there, really, not symbolically. If He was speaking symbolically, then He would have chased after all those Jews and disciples of His that found the teaching “hard,” and left Him. Jesus easily could have said that He wasn’t speaking literally, that they were misunderstanding Him and should stay. But no, He knew they had difficulty with His teachings, and that they understood it perfectly but rejected Him anyway. He respected their decision and let them go. And so He truly meant that “…the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
So, when you go to Mass or Eucharistic Adoration, Jesus is there. The same Jesus that as the Second Person of the Trinity incarnated Himself as a man, wandered about Palestine preaching and teaching and healing, the same one Who died on the Cross for us all, is there on the altar in the form of bread. The same Transcendent, Immanent, Eternal God who became a man of flesh, blood and bone, has remained with us these past 2,000 years in the form of bread (and wine.)
Now, in light of that, go read the words of today’s Gospel reading again. Oh, go ahead and read the whole chapter 6 of John’s Gospel!
Try and understand that; try meditating on the Reality of His Presence in the bread and wine consecrated at Mass. He will abide in you, and you in Him.
Gives you courage, eh?Know someone, perhaps yourself, who might like Catholic devotionals for alcoholics? Please take a look at my books! (Thank you!!)"The Stations of the Cross for Alcoholics"