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 03, 2006

For Thursday of the Third Week of Easter

John 6:44-51

Today in his Gospel, Jesus tells us: where he came from, who he is, what he does and how we can share in all of it.
The people who hear him today know that he is a man of flesh and blood.
They know his parents, Joseph and Mary.
However, Jesus upsets his listeners by saying he has come down from heaven.
He has seen God, and God is his own father.
So, even though Jesus is a man of flesh and blood, he has come from heaven, and is the Son of God whom he knows and has seen face to face.
Today Jesus does not explain that.
He just says it.
He doesn’t make it any easier for his listeners to understand or accept.
Even though they know he is a real man of real flesh and blood, he simply tells them, “I came down from heaven; I have seen God face to face; God is my Father.”
If he is who he says he is, then why did he come down from heaven?
Today he says he has come to give his flesh and blood for the life of the world.
No explanation.
Jesus says at the end of time he himself will raise up to eternal life whoever believes him and eats his flesh and drinks his blood.
No explanation.
Instead, he will go on further in this Gospel to make it worse, harder to accept.
It is clear that Jesus is packing everything about himself into his flesh and blood.
that he has personally come down from heaven;

that he personally knows and sees God face to face;

that he is the Son of God in person;

that he is eternal life in person.

He is all of that IN FLESH AND BLOOD.
God made us flesh and blood.
At the end of time, he plans to raise us up in flesh and blood.
So, then, it is a wonderful honor— it is a wondrous gift of love that we who are creatures of spirit, flesh and blood can receive the Spirit of salvation by really eating and drinking the real flesh and real blood of Christ.
Today, Jesus does not explain this.
He simply says it is so.
Perhaps someone you know or you yourself have a hard time believing this to be literally true.
How can we take Jesus simply at his word today?
Today Jesus tells us how.
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him.

Everyone who listens to my Father and learns from him comes to me.

That’s the only explanation Jesus gives today.
If we listen to the Father, the Father will teach us, and that is how we come to believe the teaching of Jesus.
I am the living bread that came down from heaven;
whoever eats this bread will live forever;
and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.

As Jesus continue this teaching in his Gospel, he will make it even harder to accept.
He will even make it the final condition for staying with Jesus or leaving.
The Eucharist, the real flesh and blood of Christ, is the “be all” and “end all” of complete faith in Jesus the Son of God.
Today and always, let us listen to the Father in prayer, ask him to teach us, increase our faith and bring us to eternal life through the flesh and blood of his Son.

That God Be Glorified in All


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