Solemnity of Body and Blood of Christ, – 14th June 2020 — Gospel: Jn 6,51-58
In this section, Jesus explains to the people an expansion of the bread imagery using more graphic with “flesh and blood” language. He changes the subject from “he” to “I”, to highlight that He himself is the giver (6,51). In contrast to the temporary manna of the OT on which the body was sustained but eventually died, His bread is both spiritual (“came from heaven”) and eternal, in that whoever eats this bread will live forever (Jn 6,58).
Jesus has been interpreting the scripture to identify himself as manna. He extends his interpretation here saying that the life he gives is “eternal”. Throughout the Gospel, Jesus asserts that he is the bringer of eternal life for those who trust in him. This “life” He brings is not limited to a future heavenly existence after death but is available to the believers in the present. The present tense verbs “believes”, “eats”, “drinks” used in verses 47, 54 & 56, emphasizes that the “life” Jesus brings begins during the life of the believer. In calling this life “eternal,” John communicates that Jesus offers a life qualitatively different from regular human life. “Eternal/forever” is a characteristic that belongs only to the divine: The Lord sits enthroned as king forever” (Ps 29,10); “The counsel of the Lord stands forever” (Ps 32,11). Those who trust in Jesus will participate in this divine life even now.
Eucharist is life-giving because it is Jesus who gives it, and it is Jesus himself who is given. It is life-giving because it draws us deeper into relationship with Jesus, so that we may “abide” there. This abiding relationship with Jesus himself is the heart and the gift of the Eucharist. If we participate in the Eucharist, i.e, eat the body and drink the blood, we can expect the following results:
- To have life ongoing (6,54)
- To be raised on the last day (6,54)
- To abide in Jesus (6,56)
- To have Jesus abide in [me] (6,56)
- To live because of/for the sake of Jesus (6,57)
- To live forever (6,58)