“The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Bread of Life discourse continues (Jn 6:41-51), drawing closer to its climax.  The Jews, in hearing Jesus say that He is from heaven, recall that they know His parents, so they question how He can claim a divine origin.  Jesus responds that it is God the Father who draws persons to Jesus through their listening to the Father.  Believers have eternal life and will be raised on the last day.  Unlike the Chosen People of old who ate manna and died, Jesus calls Himself “the living bread that came down from heaven” (v. 51), that is His flesh, that gives eternal life.  Jesus is foreshadowing His death, in which He gives up His flesh to abuse, torture, and ultimately death, for the sins of every person who ever lived, lives, or will live.  But because He promises to be with us “until the end of the age” (Mt 28:20), He also anticipates the Holy Eucharist (something, we will see, that He will get into in graphic detail in subsequent Sunday readings).  Just considering the scorn (and abandonment as we will soon see) He received for laying out this teaching, we should appreciate the gift of Holy Communion even more (not even thinking forward to the shameful — in the eyes of the world — end of His life that made this possible).  Jesus did not hesitate, despite the consequences,  to put out a hard teaching that was true.  Let us, too, never shirk from declaring the fullness of truth that we learn from the Father God and Mother Church.

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