Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (6: 52-59) in which Jesus, responding to the Jews in the synagogue, says: ‘As I who am sent by the living Father myself draw life from the Father, so the whoever eats me will draw life from me’.
Fr Paul says, as our week has continued, we see the recurring themes of the manna in the desert, of Moses and the Israelites, and we see also the confusion and the difficulty people have in understanding and appreciating what Jesus is teaching. Again today, like yesterday, Fr Paul notes, we hear another interruption from the Jews. This interruption centres on eating the Bread of Life. Unlike Wednesday’s Gospel, this is not about believing, today is clearly focussed on the Eucharist. Terms like ‘flesh’, ‘blood’ and ‘eat’, all of which stress the eating of the Bread of Life. Fr Paul says what we have in today’s Gospel is John’s presentation of the Eucharist; being presented here are the themes which will feature so strongly after the Last Supper – the mutual indwelling of Christ and the believer and eternal life. This homily of Jesus over the last days is, in fact, a Eucharist, a Mass. If you think of our current structure compared to over the last couple of days… there is the teaching on belief; then, the liturgy of the word, which is to be believed – the word tells us of the wisdom of God;. then, there is the liturgy of the Eucharist, where the Bread of Life is eaten – it is where we receive Jesus in a physical form. So this Gospel over the last few days, this homily, has highlighted John’s presentation of the Eucharist. Fr Paul says, today we might take a moment in light of this Gospel to think ‘How important is the Eucharist in my life? How important is it for me to receive this physical form of Jesus into my life?