May 9, 2014

The Gospel Today

Friday of the Third Week of Easter

John 6:52-59

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
“How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?”
Jesus said to them,
“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.
Just as the living Father sent me
and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,
whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Reflection (Sem. Edgar Calma):

     Food is an essential part of our existence. We need to take in food to nourish our bodies at least three times a day. Others would have snacks in between especially for those who need to perform heavy, manual or physical activities. In most of the occasions in our life where there is food…such occasions are not only seen as something intended only for bodily nourishment. There is more to food and to eating than just solely for bodily nourishment.  When the intent of partaking a meal or the act of eating in the company of other people transcends a personal benefit, it becomes an opportunity to build, sustain and strengthen relationships with them.  This is where a mere act of eating becomes life giving.  It goes beyond eating to meet bodily needs but becomes an occasion also for intellectual, emotional and even spiritual nourishment.

     The Gospel for today is about food specifically what to eat. Jesus said to the Jews when they were arguing among themselves how can He give them his own flesh to eat, “Truly I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you… my flesh is really food and my blood is truly drink… those who eat this bread will live forever.” The Jews were arguing because they were stuck with literal interpretation of the words of Jesus… to eat His flesh and to drink His blood. But the invitation of this Gospel passage is to transcend its literal interpretation. What Christ is telling the Jews is not bodily nourishment but a different and a higher level of understanding which is spiritual nourishment. This is where the body and blood of Christ manifested through His words and deeds when absorbed and reflected upon by our spirit will feed and lead our soul to inner peace, happiness and holiness.

  Christ’s message of love, mercy, compassion, sacrifice and forgiveness are manifestations of His total being crystalized through His self-emptying act by offering His own body and blood for the salvation of mankind.  Whenever we imitate Christ in our daily life… in occasions where we let go and forgive others… in moments when we become compassionate to a neighbour in need… and in instances where  we sacrifice our time, effort and possessions for the love of our family and friends are events in our life that we become Christ-like. For it is in knowing and loving Christ by imitating Him that we become more like Him.

      This may seem easier said than done. But when we partake with the spiritual food that Christ offers, through his message of love and sacrifice, we experience peace and serenity that the world cannot give even in the midst of difficulties and trials.  For through this, we enter into a relationship with Christ… a relationship that He promised to be always with us… that he will carry us along the ways if we remain in Him and partake of His body and blood for our spiritual nourishment.

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