Year B, The Twentieth Sunday Ordinary

The Bread That I Shall Give!

August 20, 2000


Ronald D. Curley

TEXT: The Holy Gospel According to Saint John 6:51-58

The Gospel of John is the Gospel that places the greater emphasis upon Jesus, the Son of God, and the Deity of Jesus Christ. The God-Man is speaking here, the Incarnate Word of God!

It is of importance today that we remember this as we read and partake of this passage from the Holy Gospel of Saint John before we partake of Jesus in the Eucharist.

If last week's homily was not definitive in its expression of Jesus in the Eucharist, this Sunday's homily can have no misconceptions regarding this.

I was told by a friend, Dr. Tom Brueckner, a professor of Physics at a University in Montana that this is one of his favorite passages in that it speaks so clearly of our Bread of Life. It speaks clearly to our separated brothers and sisters in Christ as well. (In fact, this passage brought me Home to Rome.)

There are many that are coming to realize this reality as the day draws closer when we all as Christians will see Jesus face to face at his coming again in glory.

Jesus said --

51 I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."

The anonymous writer quoted in "Lyra Catholica," (by Caswell),

"O what could my Jesus do more,

Or what greater blessing impart,

O silence, my soul, and adore,

And press Him still near to my heart."

There comes a time when all must adore Jesus in the Bread he has given. We cannot ignore this reality long, if we are to understand plain speech by the Word of God who speaks plainly. We would surely starve to death, if we ignore these truths.

For, even the Jewish hearers understood him completely when he said these words.

52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

Yes, they understood him rightly. "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

The problem was simple beloved. They only saw Jesus as a "man" in terms they could understand, a simple man that was born of Mary and Joseph, two ordinary people who were little people in their midst... not so special.

But, GOD acts in the ordinary by the Way, the Truth, and the Life!

Thus he has always acted in history. The manna in the wilderness was a "little" thing.

It was humble.

But, what has God done?

God becomes Immanuel. Here the Word speaks who had become Flesh and dwelled in our midst, the Glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth. He tells us who and what he is for us.

God is speaking to us and in our midst.

"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"

So, Jesus our LORD (Yahweh is Salvation) answers --

53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

54 he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

55 For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.

IMMENSITY of the Word of God!

Now, he remains with us. (Luke 24)

Now, I know exactly why I am a Catholic!

It boils down to this great revelation of the Truth.

It is the Bread!

God comes to us in the perfect Way of the Bread, the Bread we may all partake of in a wonderfully precious Way. This is something all people may understand by faith - Jesus our Bread, available to all who will come and partake, discerning his Body and Blood.

This is not to say we partake unworthily, (with sin upon our lives) -- but, we partake knowing our weakness and need for Sacramental Penance (Reconciliation).

Hear the words of Adelaide. Procter from "Our Daily Bread,"

"As children we are weak,

As children must be fed;

Give us thy grace, O Lord,

To be our daily Bread."

And A. Ryan says in "A Child's Wish,"

"But, Oh! My God, I wish the most

That my poor heart may be

A home all holy for each Host

That comes in love to me."

This wonderful Bread of Life that we have in Jesus in the Eucharist is so complete and Holy!

Shall we handle this Bread and Blood with disrespect and indignity?

No, never should it be that we should treat Jesus with indignity. He gives himself, the Holy One, to us in Bread and the Cup. "For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed."

Thus, we have what follows so clearly to our eyes and hearing--

56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

This must be done in faith, following him wholly.

It is not enough to simply physically eat without faith.

We are called to ABIDE, to REMAIN in Christ Jesus, in fellowship with the Church. This means that when Reconciliation is necessary, we are to be reconciled through the Sacrament. The one who eats is one who ought to be ABIDING in Christ Jesus.

Sts. John and Paul further speak this of this --

Please note and cf. I John 1:5-2:1 - 5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; 7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 2:1 My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.


Saint Paul speaks of the ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:17-21, NAB) - 17 So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as if God were appealing through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who did not know sin, so that we might become the righteousness of God in him.

Let us abide in Christ in this way -- "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."

Let us not ever partake of Jesus, the Bread of Life, like Dryden says -- "The manna falls, yet that celestial bread like Jews you munch, and murmur while you feed." (Britannia Rediviva)

So, Jesus proclaims through John's account more of himself--

57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.

58 This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."

Here, we remember that the Law was indeed given by Moses, but a greater One than Moses speaks. Jesus IS the Bread. But, this Bread, when eaten in faith and abiding graces, will give us - "so he who eats me will live because of me." Moses only spoke of the Bread and delivered to the Israelites in the wilderness the 'manna,' which questions - "what is it?"

Now, we know, because Jesus told us what it is - it is Jesus!

WE HAVE the Bread, beloved, thanks be to God, -- "so he who eats me will live because of me."

59 This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caperna-um.

May we teach and proclaim this in every place of gathering to the greater Glory of God alone.

Deus et Sanctissima.

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