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 the Gospel

Let us remember that we are in the holy presence of God.

Have you ever been in a state of starvation or watch people who are starving? I have. They are desperate and fearful that they will die soon. Their bellies become bloated, and they tend to eat things that are not good for them. They are lost. They are in a state of shock and are very tired and
drawn out.

We all need food for our bodies. We also all need spiritual food for our inner lives. Jesus lived at a time when many people hungered for food to nourish both their bodies as well as their souls. Today’s Gospel reading is from the same chapter of John that tells us Christ gave loaves and fishes
to feed the bodies of a large crowd of people. Christ also offers food for the inner life.

So, what is the food for the inner life?

Today we are learning that the inner life of a person is even more important than the body because the Body and Blood of Christ nourish us to live forever. Manna strengthened the bodies of Hebrew people to journey away from the land of Egypt’s physical injustice of slavery to their own
land where they could create their own society free of foreign injustice, but not free of death. Eating and drinking the Body of Christ fills us with grace to repent from our own sins, our own participation in injustice, and all we have failed to do to end injustice for others. The Body and
Blood of Christ strengthens and our souls to love like Christ and to do what Christ did, to risk persecution for doing good, and even to die on the cross!

We are to be one with Christ. We are to be compassionate, caring, forgiving, and loving to all, even to the enemies. When we are filled with Christ’s love and have faith in eternal life, we can be willing to suffer a lot, even to give up our bodies to help other people in need. We must eat his
flesh and drink his blood to strengthen ourselves to love others like Christ.

Do we go out of our way to help those in need? Do we comfort the sick and dying? Do we try and save our enemies, or do we try and kill them? If you truly believe you will sit next forever with Christ and those who suffered injustice on earth, how could you sit by in comfort now and do nothing while they suffer? Always ask yourself, “What would Christ do?”

If we do what Christ would do, we would be the Body of Christ and a light to the world. We would break down walls and barriers between peoples. We would make it easier for all people to be treated justly — not just the ones in our family or our nation, and especially those people who are most vulnerable to injustice.

Don Timmerman
Casa Maria Catholic Worker Community

Saint John Baptist de La Salle – Pray for us.
Live, Jesus, in our hearts – Forever.