Fr Paul Gooley reads from the Gospel of John (6: 52-59) in which Jesus says, ‘As I who am sent by the living Father myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me’.

Fr Paul says in this Gospel we hear another interruption from the Jews and that now introduces the third section of the homily, which concentrates on the actual eating of the bread of Life. This section no longer circles around believing indeed, the word ‘belief’ does not occur here at all.

The bread of life, the life-giving bread, is no longer to be believed but to be eaten. It is clearly focused on the Eucharist itself, with terms such as ‘flesh’, ‘blood’, ‘eat’, at last stressing the importance of actually eating of the Bread of Life.

This is John’s presentation of the Eucharist. It is done so forcefully that he does not need to mention it at the Last Supper.

The themes already presented here are the themes which will feature so strongly in the discourse after the Last Supper: the mutual in-dwelling of Christ and the believer, and eternal life.

It is worth pointing out that what is happening here in this Gospel, is what happens in the celebration of the Eucharist or the Mass.

There is first the liturgy of the Word, which is to be believed, this imparts to us the wisdom of God, a true understanding of the world, of ourselves and of the author of life, if only we open ourselves to that Word.

Then follows the Liturgy of the Eucharist where the Bread of Life is eaten, and the Lord is received in physical form.
In closing, Fr Paul notes, at each Mass we are nourished by the Word and the Eucharist; both, of equal importance.