April 15, 2106
Jn 6: 52-59
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.” He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
One of the ways biblical scholars discern if a text is likely historically true is if it would have been considered scandalous at the time it was written. What could be more scandalous than eating human flesh and blood—blood which was considered ritually impure? Yet Jesus boldly asks his disciples to “feed” on him. The Eucharist is perhaps the strangest element of our faith, yet the most amazing because it literally unifies us with Christ.
How do we “feed on” Christ in our day to day? What spiritual practices unite us in friendship with Jesus? Not only does he share his life with us through the Eucharist, but also through prayer, meditation, the ways we bless one another, and through the holiness of our daily labor. These spiritual things, when seen or talked about publicly, are perhaps considered scandalous among some of our contemporaries, but Jesus still calls us to boldly unify ourselves with him through Sacrament, prayer, and our daily action.
—Andy Otto, originally from Boston, is currently a high school theology teacher for the Diocese of Sacramento. He also runs the Ignatian blog God In All Things.
Lord, I strive each day to grow closer to you. I seek friendship with you in my worship, in my participation in the Sacraments, and in my daily life. Help me to feed on you always, to be always moved to unite myself with your joys and sufferings. Let this Easter season continue to be a reminder to me of how much you desire to share your divine life with me. Amen.
Please share the Good Word with your friends!