1. Many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this, he said to them, “Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, while the flesh is of no avail. The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe and the one who would betray him.
And he said, “For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father.” As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”(Jn6:60-69). Taken from today’s gospel.
2. The long discourse of John chapter six on the body of Jesus as bread of life ends with most of the disciples rejecting Jesus and his teaching. They described his teaching on his body as food of life as an intolerable doctrine. Jesus must have felt like a failure. Looking around him he could find only the twelve and he asked them: are you also going away like others? What I have told you is the truth and I cannot withdraw it even if all of you go.
3. The attitude of Jesus to the disappointing experience goes to show the reality of Eucharist as the true body and blood of Christ. At the beginning of the chapter Jesus fed thousand through the miracle of the multiplication of loaves. Thousands followed him. At the end of the chapter, having given his teaching, the crowd evaporated but he maintained his ground.
4. Instead of recanting he rather went further to explain that his teaching was not carnal but spiritual. The flesh has nothing to offer without the spirit because it is the spirit that gives life. Whoever wants life must accept what the spirit offers. A flesh without spirit is a corpse. The call to accept the Eucharistic doctrine is a call to life. Peter understood this and was able to assure Jesus that they would not abandon him:” master, to whom shall we go, you have the message of eternal life and we have come to believe that you are the Lord.”
5. The crowd made a choice of rejecting the truth because it does not suit their taste. Peter and the apostles made the choice of sticking with Jesus. His teaching was hard but it promises life to those who accept it. Our life on earth is about making choices. The choices we make today affect the way we live tomorrow. By not recanting his teaching today, Jesus would be able to come back to this teaching during the last supper where he would concretize the teaching by taking a piece of bread and saying: “this is my body…do this in memory of me.”
6. Many people try to explain out the Eucharist as being a figure of Christ’s body. This affects the way they relate to this sacrament of love. But you must not be like them. Jesus was firm on the teaching. Believing firmly on his presence in the Eucharist will bring you closer to God. It will make you grow in the Eucharistic love and adoration. Yes, “if you do not eat the flesh of the son of man you will never have life in you.” These words are true and trustworthy. @Vita, 22/08/21.