Gospel Reflections

20th Sunday of Ordinary Time

John 6:51-58

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Mary Cluderay

Published: August 16, 2015

Read John 6:51-58

Jesus said to the crowds: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will... Read More…

In this Sunday’s Gospel, St. John completes his discourse on the bread of life. We are privileged to enter into the mind of John as he shares with us his own deep reflection into the meaning of the words of Jesus which he first heard from the lips of Jesus. John has subsequently experienced the reality of the message, given to him and to the first disciples. In this context, let us sit with Jesus and listen to what may be described as the climax of his message to all who are willing to draw near to him. It is as though his very words are his life’s blood. Every part of the message comes from every fibre of his being. Indeed we can say: “From the depths of his heart.” No one has ever seen God. It is God, the only Son who is next to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.

We can know for certain, in pondering the words of this Gospel, that we are being invited to draw closer and closer to the heart of God. Many of the first hearers of these words rejected their meaning and turned away, and how the pain of this must have wounded Jesus! Today,  we receive the joy of the message, because it is full of Life, Love and Hope. We learn that “we shall live forever,” that we and the whole world are being held secure in the power of  Jesus: “the bread...is my flesh for the life of the world!” How important for us to believe this promise in the light of all the anguish of so many parts of today’s world!  We can feel the strength of Jesus, as he continues his message and emphasises that it is THE way for all humankind and the Only way. “I tell you most solemnly...unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man.........you will not have life in you.” Let us notice the confidence and conviction with which Jesus speaks. He is undeterred by the uncertainties of those listening because he is sure of his message. This can help us when we find rejection and half-hearted response to our offerings. In the ensuing words, we see from where Jesus receives this strength and conviction: “As I who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me.”

The words of Jesus rise to a crescendo of joy and assurance. He promises that because of this wonderful union with him in eating  and drinking from his very life, we too shall become part of him as we live in him and he in us. Only God can find a way of achieving this, so simple and so profound, in the bread and wine of the Eucharist.  We are called and equipped to go deep into the meaning of the symbols in our lives, in order to find the reality, the source: “In the beginning was the WORD and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”

We pray and sing:   

“One bread, one body
One Lord of all,
One cup of blessing which we bless
And we though many,
Throughout the earth,
We are one body in this one Lord.”

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