Faith Daily | 23 April 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - EASTER THREE
who in your great mercy made glad the disciples
with the sight of the risen Lord:
give us such awareness of his presence with us
that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life,
and serve you continually in righteousness and truth;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: John 6: 52-59
52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ 53So Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live for ever.’ 59He said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Jonathan
One of the many intricacies of John’s Gospel to bear in mind as we read it is that John is writing to and for a Christian community who are already very much in the habit of meeting and “doing life together”, including the sharing of the sacraments. So the content of today’s passage won’t be too shocking to John’s readers because they will already be in the practice of sharing the bread and wine and hearing the language of ‘eat my flesh’ and ‘drink my blood’; they will all be well aware that there is no cannibalism to be seen here.
But what does ‘eat my flesh’ and ‘drink my blood’ really mean? I like the idea of ‘eat my flesh’ meaning ‘think upon My humanity’: that each time we share in the Holy Meal, we may like to meditate upon the fact that God’s Word has taken on a human shape; and to ponder how astounding it is that God has demonstrated the intensity of God’s desire for a divine relationship with humanity, that the Second Person of the Holy Trinity would come and share our experience: our ups and downs, our temptations and losses, our aches and pains! There is a lot to ‘consume’ in the concept of the Incarnation.
‘Drink my blood’ is shown to be another confronting command for Jesus’ listeners in the narrative because we know the Old Testament expressly forbids the consuming of blood, including all flesh which has not been completely drained of it (e.g. Gen 9:4) – a habit still upheld by kosher Jews today. But blood means life and taking the life of Jesus into us is exactly what John is aiming at, in my view. The more Jesus lives in us, the better for us and the better for everyone: in ‘eating his flesh’ and ‘drinking his blood’, and doing these things together as a faith community, we know we will find eternal life.
FINAL PRAYER: Jim Cotter “Unfolding the Living Word”
Living Presence, nurturing Householder,
baking the living bread,
feed us when we no longer know how to find sustenance,
that our strength may be renewed,
and that our feet may take us
further than we have so far journeyed,
further than we ever imagined we should have to go.
We pray this in the presence and call of Jesus
and in the power of the Spirit.