Today's Gospel: John 6: 52-59
One of the most important pieces of parenting advice I believe I received when pregnant with our firstborn was "Make sure your 'Yes' means 'Yes' and your 'No' means 'No.'" Children, and all of us really, learn and grow best when they understand the boundaries and can count on steady discipline and expectations. If my 'No' actually means 'Well, if you cry I'll cave' then my 'No' isn't effective. If my 'Yes' means 'Alright but I'll probably forget what I promised,' then my 'Yes' is an empty promise and is untrustworthy. I am not perfect at this, but I do try my best to make sure that my yeses and nos are purposeful, and I am prepared to back them up and stand by them.
What I love about this Gospel is Jesus' ability to stand by His words. His 'Yes' is a sure, steady and unequivocal 'Yes':
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 (Jn 6:53).
Then, when He is questioned (a few verses after this Gospel concludes), He doesn't shrink back, He doesn't say "Well, you know, I mean, I know it sounds crazy but it's okay to only kind of get what I'm talking about. You can always think of it symbolically if that makes you feel better." No! Jesus does not change His teaching to make us comfortable or to make it easier to understand. Jesus lays a very firm foundation for our Eucharistic theology. There is not wavering in His voice, no retracting any statements. Jesus' words mean exactly what He says them to mean:
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink (Jn 6:55).
Does your 'Yes' mean 'Yes' and your 'No' mean 'No'? Consider spending some time in quiet reflection on the gravity of Jesus' words "For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." Do you truly see the Eucharist as this true food and drink?
Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of yourself in the Eucharist. Please open my eyes and my heart to understand this mystery even more deeply. Help me to be ready to cooperate with the graces the Eucharist offers, strengthening me to do your will in my life.
Copyright 2016 Kate Taliaferro
Kate Taliaferro is an Air Force wife, mom of 3 under 4. She enjoys homeschooling her two oldest while chasing her early-walking, food-scattering-loving baby. She has a Masters in Religious Education and tries to find God's presence in all parts of her day, be it cooking, cleaning or just the everyday ordinary. Follow her blog, Daily Graces to join her crazy, adventurous, God-filled family.