The Good News for the day, April 20, 2018

Friday in the Third Week of Easter (277)

The Judeans were arguing among themselves, “How can this person give us his mortal flesh to eat?” Jesus said, ”The truth that I am telling you is this: unless you do eat the mortal flesh of This Human Child—and drink his blood –you do not have life in you. Anybody eating my flesh and drinking my blood has permanent life, and I will lift that person in the end. For my flesh is really nourishing and my blood is really drink. Anybody who eats my flesh and drinks my blood stays in me and I stay in that person—just as the living Father has sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also anybody who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that has come down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and died anyway, whoever eats this bread will live permanently.” (These things he said as part of his teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.) (John 6)

The reality of poetry cannot be spoken because the reality—the whole point of poetry—is that the listener digests the image and then, within his or her own mind and soul, translates it into meaning. Translating a poem into prose destroys it. These Judeans were like us—what Jesus is saying makes no sense at face value.

Jesus uses poetry—images. He asks you to read and hear the picture, absorb, accept and integrate the picture—but, more important, its meaning.

Our culture has lost the habit of poetry. We like to see and register images as fact or science, as history or record—more to be remembered than understood—like the thinness of just the computer’s “desktop “or a theater screen. Poetry, on the contrary, requires you to think, feel and love past the picture. I cannot translate poetry into prose—cannot tell you what it means. It is up to you to work hard enough to “get” it.

Let’s try some modern images: Is it clearer if to you (and me) Jesus says, “I want to inject myself into the bloodstream of your soul like an IV in the hospital. or: “I want to penetrate into you the way oxygen goes from outside air into your red blood cells.” or “I am your most vivid memory—what has shaped you and is always a part of you”. or: “I am that song that was playing when you realized you were in love,” or: “I want to be the program or app—not just the icon”, or: “I am the bread you eat every day, the coffee you drink.” (I want to become part of you in some permanent way.)

His “flesh” is His mortality, his weakness, his pain and suffering—his death. His “blood” is his life (Leviticus 17,11). We need to accept both “flesh” and “blood.”

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