The Good News for Sunday, June 18, 2017
Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (197)
Jesus says to Jewish crowds: “I am the bread-alive come from beyond here and now; whoever eats THIS bread will live permanently; the bread I will provide is my life passing through this world for the benefit of a true life of the world.” Jews who found fault with Jesus quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said back, “It’s the truth: unless you eat the flesh of the Child of Mankind, and drink his life-blood,you do not really have life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my life-blood has boundless life, that person I will raise in the end. My flesh is really food, my blood is really drink. Anybody eating my flesh and drinking my life-blood stays in me and I am in that person. Just as the very living Father has sent me and I have real life because of the Father, so also anybody feeding on me will have Life because of me. This is the bread that came down from another realm. Unlike your ancestors in the desert who ate and still died, anybody eating this bread will live permanently.” (Matthew 6)
This pledge of Jesus–to provide his “flesh” for the life of the world is exactly what divides followers of Jesus from people who deliberately–or unwittingly–don’t “get” it. Jesus is telling the deeper truth–the poetic and spirit-dimension–that “flesh” refers to human transience, human failure and weakness, human “passing through this world.”
“Misunderstanders” pretend Jesus is telling them to gnaw on His knuckle, get a slice of His leg muscle. You and I know better. He is using “flesh” for what changes in us–significant changes of old age, changes of wounds and illness, and the general process of decay–we are dying as soon as we are born, someone has noted. No, accepting that transience –that passing through–AS JESUS DID means absorbing HIM and his attitude–healing, helping, forgiving, understanding, sharing, propping other’s hearts and minds, and embracing a mysterious universe of Rain and Sun. THAT is eating HIS flesh, HIS lifetime, his very Life and Spirit. That is the nourishment we need–good news of a Boundless Life.