Total Pageviews

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

John Chapter 6 - The Bread of Life

John 6:51-58
The Bread of Life

"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I give is my flesh for the life of the world."  (John 6:51)

Last week our Gospel ended with these words.  Today's Gospel opens with the same verse and the crowds response.  "The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:52)

This statement was very difficult for the first century Jews to comprehend. In fact if taken literally they would have understood this as a form of cannibalism, a theologically objectionable, not to mention disgusting, act. In the Old Testament the Israelites were commanded not to eat flesh with its lifeblood still in it. (Genesis 9:4) Now Jesus was telling them to eat his own flesh.   

If Jesus were speaking metaphorically here he could have easily stopped their quarreling with a simple explanation.  But he didn't, he amplified his command by adding the drinking of his blood. In fact he wanted to make this so clear that he repeated himself three times. 

"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.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him." (John 6:53-56)

"At the time he was betrayed and entered willingly into his Passion, he took bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying:
"Take this, all of you, and eat of it,
for this is my Body,
which will be given up for you."
In a similar way, when supper was ended, he took the chalice and, once more giving thanks, he gave it to his disciples, saying:
"Take this, all of you, and drink from it,
for this is the chalice of my Blood,
the blood of the new and eternal covenant,
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins. 
Do this in memory of me."
(Eucharistic Prayer II)
 Part Five The Bread of Life Discourse John 6:60-69
Intitution of the Eucharist - Juan de Juanes

No comments:

Post a Comment