20th Sunday OTB

Prov 9:1-6        Eph 5:15-20        Jn 6:51-58

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Dear friends! Moe: ‘My wife got me to believe in religion.’  Joe: ‘Really?’ Moe: ‘Yeah. Until I married her I didn’t believe in Hell.’

“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.”

We hunger for many things. However, only God can satisfy our deepest hungers. We are gathered in God’s house to celebrate the Eucharist, the banquet God has provided for us, his pilgrim people. Gospel theme is exclusively Eucharistic. The language shits to eating and drinking, to flesh and blood. ‘Flesh and blood’ is a Hebrew idiom for the whole person. Absolutely central to what we believe about the Eucharist is that Christ is really and truly present there. Not physically present, but nevertheless really present.

Physical presence is a great thing. But it is not everything.  Physical presence doesn’t always produce the intimacy we long for. In fact, people can be sitting side by side without being really present to one another. Indeed, for all that passes between them, they might as well be miles apart. But then the opposite can happen. People can be separated by a great distance and yet be very much present to one another.

We believe that Jesus is present really and truly in the Eucharist. The mode of his presence is beyond our understanding. We call it ‘ the real presence’ because it is presence in the fullest sense. To receive the gift of the Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself. Of course, an act of faith is required. But for those who believe that God is present in all things and in all places, his unique and special presence in the Eucharist ought not to be a big problem. Besides, we have the words of Jesus: ‘This is my body…this is my blood.’ St. Cyril says: ‘Do not doubt whether this is true, but rather receive the words of the Savior in faith, for he cannot lie.’

When we receive communion, Jesus comes to each of us personally, as though each of us was the only person in the world at that moment. A spiritual bond is forged between us and him, with the result that we are able to enter into a deeper intimacy with him that if he were physically present. We should avail of this wonderful time to grow in intimacy and friendship with the Lord.

However, we must not forget that the Jesus we receive in the Eucharist is the same Jesus who gave his life for us. The words of the consecration remind us of this: ‘This is my body given for you…This is my blood poured out for you.’ Hence, communion should evoke a spirit of sacrifice in us. To receive this food is to be reminded that, like Christ, we too must be willing to give ourselves in the service of others.

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows. It means: “So be it!” or “So it is!” Our Amen when we receive Holy Communion affirms that Jesus Christ is really present in the Eucharist. Our Amen affirms that Eucharist gives us eternal life. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…”

Our Amen affirms that when we feed on Christ’s life in the Eucharist, we are called to fill our lives with his word and example. In other words, our Amen to the gift of the Eucharist calls us to respond in action and try to live as Christ lived. The gift of the calls us to respond also in actions recommended by St. Paul. He asks us to ‘watch carefully how we live, not as foolish persons but as wise’. We know very well, that he who provides only for this life but takes no care for eternity may be wise for the moment but a fool forever.

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