Gospel Reflection: Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Malvern Minute

 

TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
AUGUST 16, 2015
 
Alleluia, Alleluia.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
remains in me and I in him, says the Lord.
Alleluia, Alleluia.

The Gospel of Saint John 6: 51-58
Jesus said to the crowds: “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.”

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.”
The Gospel of the Lord
 
REFLECTION
Saint John begins his Gospel with a beautiful hymn revealing the great work of God: And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth (John 1: 14).
 
The WORD of which Saint John speaks is the Eternal Son of God, the Word of God.   God became like us in all things but sin so that we could become like him and live with Him eternally.   Saint John proclaim this again in one of the most famous lines of scripture: For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life (John 3: 16)
 
God giving us His Son as man is referred to as the Mystery of the Incarnation — which means God became flesh.  This Incarnational activity of God is NOT confined to just one moment in history; God’s Incarnational desire is continued in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.  In other words, as God became flesh and blood as a man, so Jesus Christ continues to become flesh and blood in the Holy Eucharist under the form of bread and wine.   Truly, God so loves the world that he sends even today His Son to continue to nourish us and transform us into Himself.
 
This is the fourth Sunday in a row that we have been probing the sixth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel.  Since this series of five consecutive Sundays on John’s Eucharistic teaching happens only every three years, it is very important to probe the deep meaning of Christ’s words.  Christ does not want to leave us in this world like orphans not knowing where to turn, what to eat or where to go.  Christ has promised to be with us until the end of time, and He fulfills that promise by being the Word of God that guides us and the Living Bread that promises life eternal: whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.
 
In this morning’s second reading from the Letter to the Ephesians, Saint Paul warns us:Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise … because the days are evil.   Today, like times past people resist and even deny that God became man and continues to become flesh and blood in the Holy Eucharist.  Contemporary man refuses to believe that God so loves us that He desires to be present with us – really present in the Holy Eucharist and in the communion of love that the Eucharist creates among us.
 
In the midst of great doubt, the Gospel proclaims:
– that God so loved the world that He sent His Son so we might have eternal life;
– that God so loves the world that His Son continues to remain with us in the Holy Eucharist so we can share in His life;
– that God so loves the world that Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.  
 
In the Holy Eucharist we have a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, God’s Eternal Son that will last forever!  Amen.  Amen.
 
 
WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE SPEAK (2 Corinthians 4:13)
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