by Sister Madonna Swintkoske
Sunday's Gospel (John 6:51-58) is a very difficult passage for many. Jesus says, "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." What does this mean? I read an explanation of a way to think of this.
In a bookcase a woman had a book she never read. If it remains unread the book is external to her. One day she takes the book and reads it. She is thrilled and fascinated and moved. The words remain in her memory. Now when she wants to she can take that wonder out from inside herself, think about it and feed her mind and heart upon it.
So it is with Jesus. As long as he remains a figure in a book, he is external to us. When he told us to eat his flesh and blood, he was telling us to feed our hearts and souls and minds on him and to revitalize our life with his life until we are filled with the life of God. Then we will abide in God and God will abide in us. When we receive Christ in the Eucharist we are empowered to seek Christ in each other and share God's love with others.
What a beautiful feast we celebrate today. Years ago we received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. We ask ourselves today, "Has our understanding of what this means changed over the years?"
A good "parallel" reflection! My understanding of "eat my body" and "drink my blood" has definitely changed since that day I made my First Communion. And today, you have broadened and deepened my understanding even more.
Reflections like this one are why I so value this weekly devotion. Thanks!
I appreciated the analogy of the book. Thanks for the beautiful reflection.
Thanks so much.
What a wonderful comparison. I am getting to understand the Eucharist more everyday because of people like you & Fr. Ryan.