Around the year 90 A.D. when St. John wrote the Gospel, the doctrine and practice of the Eucharist was well established. The discourse on the Bread of Life given by Jesus Christ at Capernaum foretold the installation of the divine gift of the Eucharist. The Christians at that time accepted the Mass and Holy Communion as the essential act of Christian worship.
In today’s Gospel the “disciples” murmured because they could not accept that Jesus Christ came down from heaven and offered himself as the bread so that they would live forever. They must partake of his body – flesh and blood – if they want true life in them.
The “disciples” were a group different from the apostles. Their reason was the same as the multitude i.e. Jesus Christ was a mere human being. It seemed natural for them not to accept this teaching of Jesus Christ to eat his body and drink his blood.
Christ said that they lack faith due to the fact that he gave enough proof that he was more than a human being. These “disciples” closed their minds to the evidence; this is their guilt. Faith is a gift from the Father, as Christ said to them: “No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father,” but the Father offered this gift and they refused to accept it; otherwise they would not have been guilty. The divine spirit which produces “faith” is alone capable of giving life and meaning to his words.
We in this day and age accept that Jesus Christ is both human and divine. It is easy for us to believe he left us himself in the Eucharist as a sacrifice and a sacrament. We may not understand this act of divine power in its fullness due to our limited comprehension. However, we do understand and believe in the words of Christ. JESUS CHRIST HAS THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.
“In Galilee he promised to give his body and blood – in the Eucharist – Communion – and our means of offering an absolutely pleasing sacrifice to God every time his body and blood are made present by the words of the ordained minister. He fulfilled that promise at the Last Supper. He gave to his apostles and their successors the power to repeat this act of divine love when he said: “Do this in memory of me.”
When Jesus Christ asked the twelve apostles, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered, “Master, to whom shall we go?” You have the words of eternal life.” This statement of faith was not only for the apostles but also for all Christians who truly believe that CHRIST IS THE INCARNATE SON OF GOD. Peter was convinced that Christ was intimate with God and his words are TRUTH.
At this point in time for some of us it would be wise to examine ourselves how we appreciate this gift of the Blessed EUCHARIST. When we come to Mass, do we acknowledge that Christ offers himself to the Father for our SANCTIFICATION and for all humanity?
Do we know that through the priest at the altar we are also offering thanksgiving, adoration, petition, and atonement to our eternal Father in heaven through the sacrifice of his divine son in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Ask ourselves if we receive Holy Communion with a clear conscience.
We can APPRECIATE with gratitude and THANK always what Jesus Christ has done for us and still continues to shower blessings to us. Joyfully, we proclaim JESUS CHRIST HAS THE WORDS OF ETERNAL LIFE.
(Ref. Kevin O’Sullivan, OFM, The Sunday Readings)