Perhaps we may not be able to fully appreciate the Jewish people’s reaction in today’s gospel to Jesus’ words: “I am the Bread of Life that came down from heaven…whoever eats this Bread will live forever; and the Bread that I will give is My Flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews did not know what happened after someone dies – other than believing that death was not the end. So, when Jesus starts speaking about eternal life, one can imagine how they perked up and listened to what he was saying! This was a topic of great interest–but with little information–for centuries.
However, we read in the gospel that they “murmured” about what Jesus was saying…“Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother?” The revelation of Jesus as the “Bread that came down from heaven” and “whoever eats this Bread will live forever” was too much for the majority of the Jews.
How about us? Could it be possible that we have become so familiar with these words of Jesus that the full impact is lost or diminished? As we grow older, our entry into eternal life seems to grow closer and the reality of these words can have a greater impact.
While we don’t want to constantly dwell on dying – we do want to make sure we are prepared for eternal life! The answer is found in what Jesus told the Jews in today’s gospel. There is no eternal life without Jesus Christ. In today’s gospel, Jesus specifically speaks to us about the Holy Eucharist. What an awesome gift! But we can be just like most of the Jews, who missed Jesus, even though He is right in our midst – and the loss is incalculable! Knowing the infinite value of the Mass and receiving the Holy Eucharist, we prioritize our busy lives to make sure we never lose divine life – the life of Jesus Christ, freely given by Him–and must be freely received! Thank you, Jesus!
May God bless us all always!