Reflection on the Daily Readings for 8/23/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture for Sunday B Cycle (21st): Joshua 24:1-2, 15-17. Psalm
34:2-3.16-17.18-19.20--21. 22-23. Ephesians 5:21-32. John 6:60-69:
Lectionary # 123:

Decision making is one of the characteristics of John's Gospel. We are
being led, even pushed in some passages, to make a decision to have total
trust in the person of Jesus. Today we have the final part of the Eucharist
chapter and we see that many cannot accept the difficult saying of Jesus
about his flesh and blood being their food and drink. He is the Bread of
Life and his wisdom has spoken of this since the multiplication of the
loaves and the fish, then through the discourses on the Bread of Life. We
reach the climax and see that only a few can make the decision to continue
to follow Jesus despite the realism of the Eucharist. This is the only time
John mentions the twelve (apostles-disciples) in his Gospel. Jesus puts the
question to them, " Will you also leave me?" Peter is their spokesperson
and he declares, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal
life. We have come to believe that you are God's holy one." Without Jesus
they would be totally lost and alone; with him they are being led to see
the cost of discipleship and the promise of eternal life if they are
faithful to their call. They like us need the words of Jesus and his
presence in the Eucharist in the bread and wine.

We need to affirm what they did and deepen both our love and our faith in
Jesus as the Son of God and the Bread of Life. The sacrament helps us to
do this and Aquinas tells us that the sacraments are meant for us not for
angels hence they do have concreteness or reality about them and the words
which give the sacraments their divinely intended meaning. We too need to
decide to remain within the context of the sacraments and the church. What
we put into the Mass is what we will get out of it. It does not depend on
the celebrant to do this for us; we have to make the Eucharist meaningful
in our lives through careful preparation and through a deepening of our
faith and our love. Devotion to the Eucharist is the way to deepen our
belief. Our faith needs to be active and alive and coming from our heart
not from our mental makeup or attitude.

This Sunday could be prepared for by a slow reading of all of chapter six
of John's Gospel. This is the fullest development of the theme of the flesh
and blood of Jesus as Bread of Life and as the Vine. We want to be part of
the intimate circle of the twelve who on this occasion professed their
trust and love for Jesus through St. Peter. As our Psalm Response says,
"Taste and see the goodness of the Lord." Sacraments touch our senses and
tasting is not excluded. Amen.