Jesus tells us that eating His flesh and drinking His blood is real food and drink. It gives us life, eternal life.

For several Sundays the Gospel has told us about Jesus’ attempts to convince a large crowd that He Himself is the living Bread come down from heaven, bread that will satisfy their hungry spirits. Instead of responding with enthusiasm, the people argue among themselves as to how “this man” could possibly do what He says He will do. Already some of them turn away and leave for their homes. Today, this is the same key question the people are asking in John’s Gospel is: “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?”

Their problem can only be solved by seeing more than just “this man,” and seeing more deeply into Jesus as the “God-man.” In every age, it takes real wisdom for people to believe in the incredible gift that the divine Jesus offers us. Jesus tells us the eating His flesh and drinking blood is real food and drink. It gives us life, eternal life. We are one with Him and He is one with us. Jesus knew that eating with people satisfies more than just physical appetite. It can form bonds of friendship and strengthen love. We tend to eat often with friends, for such meals gradually deepen affection. Jesus knew that, even deeper than physical appetite is the hunger for spiritual fulfillment. This also is built into human nature by our Creator.

In the beginning, the Lord gave breath to all living creatures and created man and woman in His own image and likeness. Now, the Lord stands before the assembled multitudes and states unabashedly that He is the Lord of life, and that those who come in Him in faith will live forever. Jesus institutes the Sacrament of the Eucharist so that we might live with Him for eternity. By drawing near to Christ in the Sacraments we approach the source of everlasting life and place our trust that He alone can lead us through the valley of the shadow of death into the joys of eternal life. Food and drink are necessary for any journey; Jesus makes it clear that only the food and drink of His Body and Blood will give us the nourishment we need to experience the good life here on earth and joy of eternal life in heaven.

O Holy Spirit,
grant us more wisdom each day,
that we may not only understand the Living Bread of Life,
but that we may receive this Bread more fruitfully.

We pray through our everyday life this week, with the image in the background of our consciousness: Jesus offers us intimacy with Him and gives us life, as shown in our relationship with Him in the gospels.

Each day, we begin our day with the practice of briefly pausing, at our bedside to focus the day with a 15-30 second prayer. It is so helpful to develop this habit by simply doing it three or four days in a row. Even if we say that we are half-awake at this time, we can discover what a difference this way of beginning the day can be. With practice, it gets easier to say, “Thank you for this day, Lord. Please, be with me today. Give me more patience, love and trust in you.” While washing up and dressing, we can expand this prayer, in a simple friend-to-friend conversation with our Lord. This kind of connecting or checking-in with our Lord at the beginning of the day lets a background connection with our Lord develop and grow, while I’m doing many things. It changes our consciousness and connects and integrates this fundamental relationship I desire with the things I’m doing, whether they are pleasant, routine or quite difficult.


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