One Monk of the Order of Saint Benedict

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The Word of God and the Body of God reveal each other -- the homily worships both.

May 05, 2006

For Saturday of the Third Week of Easter

John 6:60-69

On Holy Thursday, A.D. 2003, Pope John Paul II gave the Church a letter on the Eucharist.
He wrote nothing new in terms of our Eucharistic faith.
He simply restated our Eucharistic faith, and unfolded some of his own insights.
What IS the Eucharist?
The answer to that question also unfolds why sharing the Eucharist with those who do not share our Eucharistic faith would be an act of dishonesty, a glossing over of reality and truth.
We cannot really be sincere in our respect for those different from us if we merely pretend they are the same as us.
Today on the third Saturday of Easter we conclude our celebration of the sixth chapter of the Holy Gospel according to John.
For eight weekdays we have celebrated this chapter in the presence of the Risen Christ.
We Catholics do not merely judge that this chapter is to be understood in a literal sense.
We see that Christ himself in this chapter is DEMANDING to be understood in a literal sense— and not just in regards to his Eucharistic Flesh and Blood.
In this chapter he also demands to be taken literally regarding his FLESH-AND-BLOOD incarnation, his FLESH-AND-BLOOD death, his FLESH-AND-BLOOD resurrection, his FLESH-AND-BLOOD ascension and his FLESH-AND-BLOOD return to raise believers up in FLESH-AND-BLOOD.
For those without Christian faith, it is an offense against God, a mere fairy tale, or just a pious symbol to say that true God was born a true man of flesh and blood.
Then, for non-Christians, this symbol, fable or blasphemy intensifies with God dying a human death as a criminal.
Finally, that Jesus was true God, died on the cross and rose glorified forever in flesh and blood increase again the blasphemy or myth for non-Christians and atheists.
Today in his Gospel, Christ sums up the whole symbolic, fabled abomination of his Incarnation, Death and Glorified Bodily Resurrection with one question.
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

Christ is God— true and eternal.
He came down from heaven as a true man of flesh and blood.
He suffered and died.
He rose from death— in flesh and blood— and ascended to heaven— in flesh and blood.
That is what he sums up today in his Gospel with this single question:
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?

However, he asks that question only because some of his listeners reject another summation he is making.
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.

He proclaims that ETERNAL LIFE is SUMMED UP and RECEIVED in EATING and DRINKING his real FLESH and BLOOD.
The EATING and DRINKING of his FLESH and BLOOD are the absolutely necessary, life-giving summary, consummation and consumption of eternal salvation by his Incarnation, Death, Resurrection, Ascension and his Return at the end of time.
Whoever EATS my FLESH and DRINKS my BLOOD
HAS ETERNAL LIFE,
AND I WILL RAISE HIM ON THE LAST DAY.

Today in his Gospel, Christ makes his Flesh and Blood the simple, absolute measure of faith in himself— the simple, absolute measure of Christian faith.
As some of his listeners begin to grumble at the offensiveness of this absolute measure, he tells them that some of them do NOT have faith.
He does NOT say they have WEAK faith.
He does NOT say they have LITTLE faith.
He does NOT say they have PARTIAL faith.
Today he simply says, “There are some of you who DO NOT BELIEVE”— who have NO faith.
Then his Gospel immediately testifies that he “knew from the beginning the ones who would NOT believe”— NOT have faith.
Living off the real Flesh of Christ as real Food, and living off the real Blood of Christ as real Drink— that is the absolute MEASURE of full Christian faith; and it is the absolute PROCLAMATION of full Christian faith.
Of this faith-measuring proclamation, the Lord in his Gospel today says, in effect, “Take it just as it is, or else just leave me!”
As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer walked with him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve,
“Do you also want TO LEAVE?”
Simon Peter answered him,
“Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
[—we have faith—]
and are convinced,
that you are the Holy One of God.”

Christ proclaims the Eucharist as the summing up of himself, his Gospel and New Covenant.
His Eucharist is the consummation of absolute faith in Christ.
His Eucharist is the single instance when he gives the stark choice EITHER simply to believe OR simply to go away.
He offers no compromise or gradual measure.
Faith in him is Eucharistic faith, or else, as he says, “Do you also want TO LEAVE?”
Yet, lest we Catholics presume to look down on those who do not have our Eucharistic faith, let us keep in mind that today Christ also says, “No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
Unconditional, uncompromising, saving EUCHARISTIC faith in Christ is a gift from the Father.
For those who do not have this faith, let us pray they receive it.
If we have it, let us give thanks to the Lord our God— but also pray never to sin against it in any way.

UT IN OMNIBUS GLORIFICETUR DEUS
That God Be Glorified in All







1 Comments:

Anonymous Candi the Oblate said...

Hi Father,

Your posts this past week were very powerful. Thank you. I am grateful for your very Catholic teaching, which isn't watered down.

Candi the Oblate

8:55 AM  

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