Gospel – John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the Jewish 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.”

Reflection on Sunday Gospel

Let us remember we are in the holy presence of God…

The Catechism of the Catholic Church proclaims that the Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The Brothers read in their current Rule, “Every aspect of the Brother’s life is energized by the mystery of the Eucharist.” And today, we celebrate the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.

Obviously, in the minds of the Church and the Institute, the Eucharist is central to life. Today is a great day to reflect on what the Eucharist means to each of us. While it is good to accept and verbalize a coherent theology of the Eucharist for ourselves, it is probably more important to know how important the Body and Blood of Christ is, in our 24-7 lived reality. So, today is a good time to pause and to remember our understanding of the mystery of the Eucharist.

For many of us, the onset of summer means an opportunity to pick up the pace of reading which is often slowed by the non-stop academic year. Why not search a bookstore or the internet for a book to refresh our understanding of the Eucharist?

Ronald Rolheiser, IVB, has a refreshing  2011 book, entitled, Our One Great Act of Fidelity: Waiting for Christ in the Eucharist. Here is an excerpt from the very first chapter:

A few years ago Brenda Peterson wrote a book of essays titled Nature and Other Mothers. Her first entry is wonderfully named ‘In Praise of Skin’. In it, she tells how at one point in her life she was afflicted by painful skin rashes. Like the woman with the hemorrhage in the Gospels, she tried every possible doctor, but found no cure. Medication after medication proved ineffective, and eventually the doctors ran out of things to try. The rash always came back.

One day her grandmother assessed her and pronounced a more ancient and accurate diagnosis: “Skin needs to be touched!” Her grandmother then began to give her regular skin massages, and these did what the more sophisticated medicines couldn’t do. They cured her. Peterson’s grandmother is right: Skin needs to be touched!

God knows that better than anyone. It’s why Jesus gave us the Eucharist. In the Eucharist skin gets touched. The Eucharist isn’t abstract, a theological instruction, a creed, a moral precept, a philosophy, or even just an intimate word. It’s bodily, an embrace, a kiss, something shockingly physical, the real presence in a deeper way than even the old metaphysics imagined.

In Hebrews 13:8, we read that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” However, our understanding of Jesus can deepen and grow. What better time to refresh our understanding of Jesus than this summer, beginning on this Feast?

St. John Baptist de La Salle … Pray for Us!
Live Jesus in our Hearts … Forever!

Br. Dennis Lee, FSC