John 6 Day 7

Day 7

Friday, April 19, 2024

John 6:52-59

As we approach the end of this chapter of the Bread of Life discourse, we continue to see Our Lord “doubling down” on His insistence that it is His plan and His will that His disciples come to eternal life not just through belief in Him or commitment to following Him, but by eating and drinking His actual Body and Blood (that is, by receiving Holy Communion). There has been a great deal of good work by recent Catholic apologists explaining just how literally this point (repeated emphatically by Jesus Himself) must be taken. This Catholic Answers apostolate article is one example).

For those who have rejected the teaching of Jesus and His Church that He is speaking literally, they will claim that He is speaking metaphorically (symbolically). For example, we might say “I’m just drinking in the glory of the moment” if our team just won the championship game, when we are not talking about the physical act of drinking a beverage.

But that metaphorical interpretation just doesn’t make sense because of the choice of words Jesus uses, emphatically repeated, as well as the other factors mentioned in that article. One of the most convincing reasons comes in tomorrow’s installment, as we shall see, when many disciples walk away from Jesus because they find this teaching too hard to understand, and Our Lord doesn’t try to stop them.

We see the doubt beginning to creep in already today, when St. John records that the disciples argued amongst themselves how it was even possible that Jesus could give them His flesh to eat.

Our Lord starts to explain the beautiful benefits of entering into Communion with His flesh and blood. Those who eat His Body and drink His blood with faith, devotion and love will abide with Him (some translations: ‘remain’, ‘dwell’, or ‘stay’). We have all had friendships that sadly just fade out over time (we move away or get too busy to keep up with them or our interests diverge), but this Divine Friendship that Our Lord holds out to us through Holy Communion is different. It is a lasting friendship that He hopes will never end.

That is one reason that the Church encourages those who are properly disposed and prepared to receive Holy Communion frequently: it helps us to renew our friendship with Our Blessed Savior so that it is a lasting one that doesn’t fade out over time.

Our Lord specifies the nature of the friendship He wants with us. It’s not just an ordinary human friendship. No, “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 profound line takes

some unpacking. Catholic teaching on the Holy Trinity is very complicated. It reminds us that the Father and Son, distinct Persons of the Trinity, are One, together with the Holy Spirit, and that Jesus the Son of God is ‘eternally begotten’ of the Father. That is, He was, is, and always will be the Son oof God because of the love of God the Father for Him. Jesus is making the point that it is through the power of the Holy Spirit in the Blessed Sacrament that we too can share in the very kind of love that it is the “lifeblood” of the Trinity. That by being faithful to the Eucharist, we can share in Heaven in that love where we are constantly begotten by the love of the Father, in a mutual and never-ending bond of love between God for us His children.

What a gift!