Divine Life

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.
(John 6:52-59)

Scripture Study

6:52 his flesh to eat?: The crowd is thinking of cannibalism, i.e., the sin of eating a human corpse, an idea thoroughly repugnant to them (Deut 28:53). This is a misunderstanding. Jesus gives us, not his mortal flesh as it was during his earthly ministry, but his glorified humanity as it was after rising from the dead. This is why he calls himself the “living bread” (6:51).

6:53 eat the flesh … drink his blood: Jesus is speaking literally and sacramentally. If he were speaking metaphorically or figuratively, his words would echo a Hebrew idiom where consuming flesh and blood refers to the brutalities of war (Deut 32:42; Ezek 39:17–18). no life in you: i.e., divine life. ● Drinking the blood of animals is forbidden under the Old Covenant (Gen 9:4; Lev 17:10–13; Deut 12:16). To do so is to consume “life” that is merely natural and of a lower order than human life. Jesus’ injunction does not fall under these prohibitions. The “life” he imparts is not natural but supernatural; it does not pull us down to the level of animals; it elevates us to become sharers in his divine nature (2 Pet 1:4) (CCC 1391).

6:58 will live for ever: The expression occurs rarely in the Bible, only twice in John (6:51, 58) and once in the Greek version of Gen 3:22. ● A comparison is thus implied between the Tree of Life, which bore the fruit of immortality, and the Bread of Life, which tradition calls the “medicine of immortality” (CCC 1331).

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today’s Gospel declares that the Word really became flesh. Why has the incarnation been resisted from the very beginning? Why is the extension of the incarnation, which is the Eucharist, still such a source of division?

I think it has to do with flesh. God became one of us, as close to us as blood and muscle and bone. It is no longer correct to say simply that God is in his heaven and we are on the earth. It is not correct to say simply that God is spirit and we are matter. Matter has been invaded by spirit. But in Jesus, God became flesh, and more to the point, he invites us to eat his body and drink his blood. But that means that he wants us to take him into ourselves.

“Now, wait a minute!” many people think. That’s a little too close for comfort, for it means that he wants to be Lord of my flesh and my bones, that he wants to move into every nook and cranny of my life. My work, my recreation, my sexual life, my life of play—all those fleshy things that I do—he wants to be Lord of all of that! And that’s precisely right.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.