For the complete Sunday readings click here.
When was the last time you remember being shocked by something Jesus said?
In the Gospel this Sunday we read about the crowd complaining about Jesus’ teaching. We learn than after he stuck by his words, many left. What Jesus said shocked the crowd so much so that they abandoned him. Many gave up on Jesus because of his shocking teaching.
So what did he say?
For the last four Sundays, we have been reading from John 6. In this part of John’s gospel, Jesus teaches that he is the Bread of Life. Jesus explains that unless we eat his flesh and drink his blood we have no life within us. The thing is Jesus isn’t speaking metaphorically or symbolically. Jesus professes that the Eucharist is his body and blood six times within John 6. He really means it when he teaches this.
What happens in this Sunday’s gospel is exactly what you would expect if someone told crowds to eat his flesh and drink his blood – people freaked out.
If we have been paying attention, we should be freaking out too. If we are really paying attention to the gospels these last few weeks we should shocked by what Jesus is teaching. Are you shocked?
Jesus is saying that the Eucharist is truly the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ. Jesus preaches that every time we celebrate Mass that host and that wine change, not symbolically or metaphorically, but truly into Jesus’ body and blood.
Some followers of Jesus were shocked and left. But when Jesus turns to the Peter and the disciples and asks if they are leaving too, Peter affirms that they are sticking with Jesus. Peter even goes so far as to say that the disciples are staying with Jesus because he teaches the truth.
For us, if we truly take the time to stop and think about the Eucharist, if we intentionally try to imagine hearing Jesus words for the first time, then our experience of receiving Jesus in the Eucharist has to change. It might even be okay that we are shocked that the God of the universe would be so generous to share his very flesh and blood with us and for us so that we can receive life everlasting.
Read John 6 all the way through in one sitting (5 minutes or less). Think about what Jesus is really saying when you go to Mass this weekend.