APRIL 23. Easter Wk. 3. Fri. Jn.6. 52-59
Updated: Aug 29
The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’
He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.
This must rank as one of Christ’s most important and fundamental teachings for the Church, and a treasure we must be eternally grateful for. He is making a pronouncement; - viewed as both impossible and unreasonable to any intelligent man thinking logically; - but Christ ignores this human way of thinking and passes on a divine truth; - for those prepared to believe!
“He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue”; - and nothing would change his mind, or influence his thinking. His duty, which came from the Father, was to proclaim the truth to his followers; - and those prepared to believe; - despite their not understanding how!
The Church in 2021 continues to proclaim the same truth; - in face of the same common belief today that “this is a hard saying; - who could believe it?” Surveys in America tell us sixty percent of American Catholics do not believe in the real presence in the Eucharist, but the Church continues to proclaim the Eucharist as “The source and summit of the Christian Life!”
And what a source of comfort and consolation this proclamation is to those who believe? No matter what happens in our lives, be it wonderful or tragic, we have the ability to walk to our local church and spend time in the presence of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and our Saviour?
And, as if that divine gift is not enough, Christ also invites us to receive the Eucharist as food for the pilgrimage of life; - in the same way God’s chosen people were provided with “manna from heaven”; - while enduring their pilgrimage in the desert.
Despite the lack of Faith Christ’s teachings remain; - “My flesh is real food; - and my blood is real drink; - He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me; - and I live in him!”
Gospel Acclamation John 6:56
All who eat my flesh and drink my blood
live in me and I in them, says the Lord.
First reading Acts 9:1-20 ·
This man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before the pagans
Saul was still breathing threats to slaughter the Lord’s disciples. He had gone to the high priest and asked for letters addressed to the synagogues in Damascus, that would authorise him to arrest and take to Jerusalem any followers of the Way, men or women, that he could find.
Suddenly, while he was travelling to Damascus and just before he reached the city, there came a light from heaven all round him. He fell to the ground, and then he heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ ‘Who are you, Lord?’ he asked, and the voice answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do.’ The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless, for though they heard the voice they could see no one. Saul got up from the ground, but even with his eyes wide open he could see nothing at all, and they had to lead him into Damascus by the hand. For three days he was without his sight, and took neither food nor drink.
A disciple called Ananias who lived in Damascus had a vision in which he heard the Lord say to him, ‘Ananias!’ When he replied, ‘Here I am, Lord’, the Lord said, ‘You must go to Straight Street and ask at the house of Judas for someone called Saul, who comes from Tarsus. At this moment he is praying, having had a vision of a man called Ananias coming in and laying hands on him to give him back his sight.’
When he heard that, Ananias said, ‘Lord, several people have told me about this man and all the harm he has been doing to your saints in Jerusalem. He has only come here because he holds a warrant from the chief priests to arrest everybody who invokes your name.’ The Lord replied, ‘You must go all the same, because this man is my chosen instrument to bring my name before pagans and pagan kings and before the people of Israel; I myself will show him how much he himself must suffer for my name.’ Then Ananias went. He entered the house, and at once laid his hands on Saul and said, ‘Brother Saul, I have been sent by the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on your way here so that you may recover your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ Immediately it was as though scales fell away from Saul’s eyes and he could see again. So he was baptised there and then, and after taking some food he regained his strength.
He began preaching in the synagogues, ‘Jesus is the Son of God.’