Homily for the feast of the Most Holy Sacrament

Year A  -  John 6:51-58


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"In the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus said:  «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.»

"The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, «How can this man give us his flesh to eat?»  So Jesus said to them, «Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;  he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.  This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.»"



Homily:


"In the synagogue of Capernaum, Jesus said:  «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.»"

Today, we celebrate a very special feast in order to honor the Most Holy Sacrament of the Body and of Blood of Christ!  On this occasion, the Church proposes to us a gospel taken from Jesusís speech on the Bread of Life, in the synagogue of Capernaum.  Let us try to understand a little that which the Lord wanted to tell us, on that occasion, about the sacrament of his Body and his Blood.

We know this:  Jesusís speech on the Bread of Life constitutes a turning point in his preaching and in his mission.  What Jesus declared on that day was so off-putting to the simple human reason - it was indeed necessary to have the true and simple faith of a child in order then to understand the Master - that a whole faction among the disciples of the Lord resolved to leave, probably for good, this Doctor who taught things so strange and so new in relation to the times:  "After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him." (Jn. 6, 66)

"The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, «How can this man give us his flesh to eat?»  So Jesus said to them, «Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;  he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.»"

"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."  The Jews who were listening to this speech were amazed:  Jesus had said that he was going to give his body for food, and, that, the Jews couldnít understand!  But what is important, it is that Jesus promises eternal life to he who will eat his body:  "If any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever."  And we?  Are we like those incredulous Jews, who didn't believe in what Jesus said to them about himself?  Or do we believe in the word of God, who said:  "This is my Body . . .  This is my Blood . . ."?  When we see bread on the altar, when we taste the Eucharist at the time of the communion, do we really believe that which we see, and which we taste is the Body of the risen Christ, capable of giving us eternal life?  Once again, do we really believe that what appears to us like bread is not bread from earth, but the true Bread of Heaven, which gives Eternal Life?

"«He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.  As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.»"

"This is the Mystery of Faith!"  "Mysterium fidei !"  That is what the priest proclaims at every eucharistic celebration!  That is the all new dimension which the celebration of the Eucharist brings to us:  the superior dimension of faith!  Through the Eucharist, through faith of which we are called to testify at every celebration, all of our life receives a new dimension:  that of the supernatural life in faith!  "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."  This living in Christ is the result of that new dimension which our life receives through the Eucharist.  This living in Christ transforms to such an extent our daily life that Saint Paul could exclaim:  "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Ga. 2:20)

"This is the Mystery of Faith!"  We really need to have faith to understand, not naturally, but well supernaturally, that, through the Eucharist, Christ stays in us and that we stay in Christ, for this living and that communion surpass us:  they are of the order of the communion and of the living of God himself in himself!  That's why the Lord  expressly says:  "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."  The union of Christ and of he who eats him in the Eucharist is so elevated and so intimate that there is no comparison other than the very union of the Three divine Persons in their common action in relation to men and women called to participate in this same Trinitarian communion.

"«This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.»"

What a contrast!  What a difference between manna and the Eucharist!  "This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."  What a marvel before our very eyes, within our reach, here below, before us, for us:  eternal life!  Under the appearances of a little bit of bread, of a little bit of wine, there is the life which doesn't end and which makes us happy to all eternity!  What a difference!  What a contrast!  But faith is needed to understand this!  "This is the Mystery of Faith!"  May the Most Holy Virgin Mary teach us to believe in the eternal life which the sacrament of the Body and of the Blood of her Son brings to us!