Friday, 14 August 2009

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. (Jn 6:56)

As clear from my post yesterday evening, I will be heading off to the Youth 2000 Summer Festival  in Clonmacnois straight after class this afternoon. However, I just wanted to post a quick reflection on an aspect the gospel of Sunday (John 6:51-58), to keep in the practice of some kind of a weekly meditation...

We continue the reading of chapter 6, and I hope to get a proper chance to write something coherent about this lovely chapter after the course is finished at the end of next week.

Last week we ended with Jn 6:51, the same we start with today:
"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." (Joh 6:51 RSV)
Jesus is offering himself to us, he want to give himself to us, so we might have life in us... and this is important. Jesus says "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;" (Joh 6:53 RSV) I guess this kind of makes sense if we think God as the source of life, so if we don't have God in our lives, we miss this life and life without God is death (as a life without love is too).

But what can we do with this? I think we can try and take it as an invitation. In the Eucharist, Jesus is offering us himself, He invites us to become one with Him. When we receive Him, when we eat Him, as "For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed" (Joh 6:55 RSV) He comes into our bodies... and in the natural physical way becomes part of our bodies, as does any food.

Here thought there is off course something much more significant happening. The bread of life does not just nourishes us physically, but also spiritually, it nourishes our whole being. "Not such as the fathers ate and died;' (Joh 6:58 RSV) bread that only nourishes our bodies, but this bread nourishes our whole being, body and soul.

Jesus comes to us and becomes part of us:
"He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him." (Joh 6:56 RSV)

and with Him becoming part of us, we become part of Him, and with Him we become part of the Trinity:
As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. (Joh 6:57 RSV)
So briefly said, and I know these are just a few words thrown down, when we are receiving communion we are offered to become more and more part of the Trinity... no wonder grace is flowing...

However, is there is a little "catch", if I can call it this. God is always inviting us into communion with Him. He is always inviting us to become closer and closer to Him, to let go of ourselves and to let ourselves being taken over by His love. In a way He is inviting us to become one with Him, like a drop of water becomes one with the ocean in which it falls... it seems clear to me that communion in the Eucharist seems to offer exactly that...

So the little "catch" is not really a little catch, but just a note on this. In the nature of an invitation is that it is a free choice and as such we need to accept. So it is true with the Eucharist, that we need to be open to God, if we are not open to God the effects of the sacrament will be not have the full effect as St Thomas Aquinas  point out in the Summa. God want to give us all, but it is according to our disposition that we receive. So when we receive we should be aware of what we are doing, we should conduct ourselves properly and prepare ourselves properly, we should remind ourselves that we are not receiving mere bread, but acknowledge the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

So it is an invitation, an invitation to something more, to something beautiful and also to something unknown... but let us embark on the adventure and embrace it, asking our Lord to draw us deeper into His union (especially while receiving Him in the Eucharist) and to try and let more and more of our own will go and "Let thy will be done" (Mat 6:10).

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