said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this
bread will live forever; and the bread that I will 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, “Very truly, I tell
you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have
no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life,
and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my
blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and
I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father,
so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down
from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one
who eats this bread will live forever.”
told the crowds earlier that he is the bread of life and whoever comes to he
will never be hungry (John 6:35). Now,
in today’s Gospel, he further reveals to the crowds that he is the living bread
from heaven and whoever eats of this bread will live forever.
Hebrew, the expression “flesh and blood” means the whole being. By saying to give himself as flesh and blood
for people to eat, Jesus means to give himself totally. However, the total giving up of oneself to
others could not be understood by the Jews at Jesus’ time. Thus, they ask cynically: “How can this man
give us his flesh to eat?” Don’t think
that it was the Jews of Jesus’ time who did not understand. Nowadays, many of us are also cynical about
this mystery. It is not unusual that we
find some Christians treat the Eucharist differently from that of our holy
Church. Many Christians try to
comprehend the reality of Christ’s presence at the Eucharist with human
reason. In fact, the reality of the transubstantiation
of bread and wine into Christ’s body at the Eucharist is beyond our
comprehension. We are asked not to
understand it, but to experience it.
experience it? Because unless we eat the
flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, we have no life in us (verse 53). What does Jesus mean have no life in us? It does not mean we are dead. It means we have never experienced or never
allows ourselves to experience the kind of selfless love that Jesus gives. Without experiencing the selfless love that
Jesus gives to us, we can never give others our selfless love. Let us review our life and to see where and
when we have experienced the selfless love of Jesus. If you can find such experience in your life,
give thanks to God. On the other hand, take
time to find out whether we have refused to be touched by the selfless love of
Jesus. And ask ourselves, why?
promises that those who eat his flesh and drink his blood have eternal life,
and he will raise them up on the last day (verse 54a). This promise comes only after we have eaten
Jesus’ “flesh and blood”. It is the deep
relationship with God through Jesus at the Eucharist when we having eaten
Jesus’ “flesh and blood”, Jesus lifts us up beyond the limitation of time and
history. Thus, he raises us up on the
promised us the eternal life, Jesus reiterates that his flesh is true food and his
blood is true drink (verse 55). What
Jesus tries to stress is reminding us that he is the only real food and real
drink. In other words, he invites us to
focus on him in our life, not to be side tracked by our other needs. It is about our relationship with Jesus. If we cannot experience Jesus in our life, he
won’t be the focus of our relationship as Jesus points out, “Those who eat my
flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them” (verse 56). It is an intimate relationship between the
giver and the receiver of the selfless love.
this intimate relationship between Jesus and us is similar to Jesus’
relationship with the Father (verse 57).
It also reveals that the selfless love of Jesus is based on the selfless
love between the Father and Jesus.
Jesus points out, “This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that
which your ancestors ate, and they died (verse 58).” Jesus tells them that he is not the same
manna sent from heaven in the scriptures.
He is new and brings new life to all mankind.
we eat, live and abide with Jesus.