TWENTIETH SUNDAY B: HOMILY
THEME: LET US RECEIVE JESUS SO THAT WE MAY HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
Today’s readings stress the fact that the Holy Eucharist, is the Food that gives us everlasting life. The implication is that the Holy Eucharist is Jesus himself. If you do not believe that do not receive Holy Communion (1Cor 11:29).
John 6:51, the verse that concluded last Sunday’s gospel text, is the very verse that has opened today’s gospel text: Jesus declares: “I am the living bread 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.” Actually, the word “flesh” in Hebrew means person. Receiving the body of Jesus is receiving Jesus himself.
When Jews quarrel saying: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus hummers the same declaration as a condition for having eternal life: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” (Jn 6:53-54).
Remember, Jesus announced this truth after miraculously feeding about 5,000 men with five loaves of bread and two fish. Signifying that he really means to feed us with himself, by transubstantiating bread and wine into his body and blood. This is what he does in Luke 22:19-20. And he ordains and commands his apostles to continue with the multiplication of his glorified body and blood so that each communicant may receive him fully. If it were not necessary to receive him in the Eucharist, why would he have instituted the Holy Eucharist as a condition for having eternal life?
So, his words should not be taken lightly, because they are being said by Christ, the second person of the Holy Trinity, Co-creator, the Way, the Truth and the Life, the only Savior, who came to take us to heaven. The words in today’s gospel text reveal the core of Christ’s mission and message.
During Holy Mass, when a validly ordained priest pronounces the words of Jesus: “This is my Body”; “This is my Blood”, the transubstantiation is done. We have at the altar Jesus himself, body, soul and divinity. The substances of the bread and of the wine change into the body and blood of Jesus. It is the accidents that remain: The taste, the color and shape.
This is a Eucharistic miracle for the sake of feeding us, so that we may have eternal life. In some cases, scientists have examined the elements and confirmed this truth that bread became the body of Christ. Google out Eucharistic Miracles.
The first reading from Proverbs 9:1-6, presents Jesus as the Wisdom that spreads a table and invites people to eat and drink of him, that is to say, of his wisdom. The reading adds “forsake foolishness that you may live.” Psalm 34 has added: “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
In the second reading (Eph 5:15-20), Paul has concluded: “Brothers and sisters…. Do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord.”
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, this world in which we are is a womb. We are not yet delivered into heaven where we shall have eternal life. Jesus advises us like a mother advising a fetus in the womb to eat and drink of her blood so as to grow and be born.
Our participation in the Eucharist also concretizes and energizes our relationship with Christ and with one another. When we share in the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, Jesus himself comes to dwell within us. This communion with the Lord makes us one body, brings us eternal life, and sends us forth to be Christ’s body for the life of the world. Eating the glorified body of Christ and drinking his blood completes our relationship as brothers and sisters in God our Father, because we share the divine DNA of Jesus.
1) Let us appreciate the “Real Presence” of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, by receiving him with true recognition, repentance for our sins, due preparation and reverence.
2) By receiving Holy Communion, we become Christ-bearers as Mary was, with the duty of carrying him to others at home and in the workplace, through love, mercy, forgiveness and humble and sacrificial service.
3) Let us allow our body to be broken and our blood to be shed for others as Jesus did, by our humble service.