Gospel John 6:51-58
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give
is my flesh for the life of the world."
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them,
"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.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me
will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever." The Gospel of the Lord
Find a quiet place to sit alone with the Lord, particularly a place of beauty. Here is one of my places, I will share it with you, in case you can't get away.
Let us peacefully, bring ourselves into the Presence of God. He is already with us, we need only to bring ourselves into an awareness of His Presence. Allow the Lord to look upon you by being still in Him, allow Him to love you, by accepting His gift of Himself to you, in the present moment, seeing His goodness in your life. Tell Jesus you love Him. Now as you sit with Him and remain in His company share with him, all that's on your heart, your concerns, your burdens, your frustrations, your joys, some of the good things and some of your hopes, just share freely. Share with him also all that is stealing your peace, what's in your thoughts, what are you fears and anxieties He wants to hear them all, He cares about you, He loves you, don't think about how it all sounds to Him, He loves honesty and raw poverty, ie...Be REAL. God is Simple and He understands 'your language' you need not speak it outloud, just speak it in your heart, He's there and He can interpret what you cannot even put into words. Slowly and with attention read the Gospel, listen to what you are reading. If you can read the Gospel outloud even better, listen to the words, be careful not to read it like any other book, because its not like any other book, its the Living Word of God, ALIVE, the Word of God is alive. Read the passage as a love letter, from the One who is in love with you and the one you love above all other loves in your life. You will read each word very differently. Then just BE with Him. In other words, just sit with Him, like you would your very best friend, don't look at your watch, consider this treasured time and get 'lost in it' for a little while with Jesus. Ask Him questions when something strikes you in the passage or ask Him to share His heart, what He wants to say to you. His heart is deep and tender and "Love" never wants to be rushed in revealing oneself. Give Him 'room' to speak to your heart. Wait on Him. When something strikes you, whether its a word, or a theme, or an image or perhaps a 'message' in the gist of the reading..stay with it, stay with Jesus there! He will do the rest if we learn to just wait on Him.
In the Gospel today, our Lord is speaking to the crowds about something we all think a lot about; eating. Whenever I read this passage (I walk into the crowd there and sit down as close as I can to Jesus and just listen to Him as He speaks in this passage. What strikes me quite often is the fact that they are all talking among themselves, making 'judgments' about this man (Jesus) but no one says to Jesus directly, "what do you mean Jesus, explain, because I want to be close to you, and I want what is in you, to grow in me too, but I am horrified by what you are saying right now at this minute, help me to understand what you are really saying." In today's Gospel account, we don't hear any questions, we only hear them murmur and argue, you can just hear the 'rustling' in the crowds as they lean over to one another and start talking between themselves, some horrified, some questioning and some disgusted. But Our Lord continues to say the same message pointing to the great Truth, that we have both body and soul and both need food. We need to eat to live and continue living. Both body and soul, need food.
There is an analogy and that is 'eating bread', we must eat in order to live, the body cannot live on air, we must give it food. The soul cannot live on air either, we must give it food and the food of the soul, is Jesus Himself. Jesus is the Life of the soul. If we don't have Jesus living in our soul, then we don't have life in our soul. If we starve our body it will die, if we starve our soul, it will die too. "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." How do we 'consume Jesus' the Bread of Life? We receive God's life in our soul first through the Sacrament of Baptism, we receive the Living Bread of Jesus in the Sacraments: most commonly for us (Confession/Reconcillation, the Mass (Eucharist) and in the 'Sacrament of the Present Moment': the Graces of the moment. Mother Teresa often told us, that there are pleasant and painful graces, there are mundane and glorious graces. But all is Grace. All communicates life to the soul. Do I long to receive Jesus, the Bread of Life, in the Sacraments? Do I hunger to grow closer to Him? To I receive Him in the Eucharist with 'presence of mind' to whom I am receiving? Do I realize that He is always coming to me, in the little moments of the day (moments of grace) and He is longing to nourish my soul, He is longing to nourish His Life within me, because He loves me uniquely and no one on the face of the planet is like me? He put every part of my being together, He 'knit it' in my mother's womb, everything about me, is custom made. Do I love His work, do I ask Him to feed me and help me grow in His image and likeness?