Homily for the nineteenth Sunday of the year - Year B - Jn. 6:41-51


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

" The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, 'I am the bread which came down from heaven.' They said, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, "I have come down from heaven"?' Jesus answered them, 'Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, "And they shall all be taught by God." Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.' "




Homily:


" The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, 'I am the bread which came down from heaven.' They said, 'Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, "I have come down from heaven"?' "


Last Sunday, we heard that the Jews showed enthusiasm for the revelation that Jesus made concerning the bread of life given by the Father, and they said: "Lord, give us this bread always." (John 6:34) Today, we see that the situation has changed: some Jews are asking themselves questions, perhaps legitimate ones, about the origin of Jesus! Indeed, Jesus had affirmed: "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst." This affirmation had shocked some of them, and this is why they protested, saying: "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, 'I have come down from heaven'?"


So some of the Jews who listened to Jesus are being spoilsports! There are still some who believe in Jesus, who believe in this life-giving bread from Heaven; but the clamorous speech of the unbelievers will cause many to stumble! What Jesus is revealing here, concerning the Eucharist, constitutes a decisive turning point in his messianic ministry: the Eucharist is, in fact, the sacrament of unity, and he who does not receive this sacrament cannot hope to remain faithful to Christ. The revelation of the Bread of Life is a stumbling block on which many will stumble. This is why, after narrating the discourse of Jesus concerning the Bread from Heaven, Saint John writes: "After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him." (Jn. 6:66)


" Jesus answered them, 'Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day."


Why don't all those who hear the word of God believe in Christ, true God and true Man? Don't they all receive the same grace? Yes, of course. But this grace is a word of love from God to mankind, and we can respond to love only with love. If a man were to try to respond with something other than love, it would not be a true response and he would remain alone: God would not be with him. So it is not God who refuses to save all men: it is men who refuse God's salvation! And yet, so little is asked of us: all we need to do, with the grace of God, is to believe in the Bread of Life, the Bread that came down from Heaven and gives life to the world! " Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life."


" I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.' "


Eternal Life is within our reach: it is there in the Eucharist that we celebrate each day! Our daily Bread asks of us only one thing: that we believe in Him with love and hope! That we believe that He is God, the supreme Good that we want to love above all else! That we have hope in his inexhaustible mercy and in the omnipotence of his grace! This is our salvation! May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who can be called the Mother of the Eucharist, She through whom the Bread of Life is given to us, help us with her efficacious prayers for our salvation and for the salvation of the entire world!



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