Corpus Christi – June 22, 2014
Deuteronomy 8.2-3, 14-16 | Psalm 147 | 1 Corinthians 10.16-17 | John 6.51-59

Ralph Himsl

June 9, 2014

Today's Gospel Reading from John tells of a time of intense activity on the part of Jesus. His curing of the sick, acts of compassion and mercy in themselves, also offered testimony of a person possessed of remarkable powers.

As John puts it, in the verses preceding today's reading, "A great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick." Jesus recognized a need of the crowd and we have the occasion of the feeding of the 5,000 – another convincing sign.

Some of the people see him as "the prophet who is to come into the world" and propose to make him king – the latter definitely not part of Jesus' plan. He withdrew from the crowd.

I am the living bread that came down from heaven. - John 6.51


'I am the living bread that came down from heaven.'

John 6.51

The next day when the still-wondering crowd found him again, they asked him almost reproachfully, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" That question gave Jesus the opening he wanted.

Jesus tells them that in looking for him, they missed the importance of the signs he had given them; they remembered instead the loaves he had provided for them and that they had had their fill.

Nothing wrong with that, but he told them the food they need "endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, for on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."

Then from somewhere in the crowd came the crucial question: "What must we do to do the works that God requires?"

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent." He assured them, "Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life."

The grumblers in the crowd have trouble reconciling the witness of their eyes and ears with the message which Jesus preaches. He tells them to stop their grumbling and have faith.

He reminded them that their ancestors ate manna and they died. On the other hand, Jesus is "the bread of life" and whoever eats this bread will live forever. "This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world."

It's a prefiguring of his deep declaration made at the Last Supper: "Take, eat; this is my body," and "This is my blood of the covenant poured out for the remission of sins."

. . .

As an aside, I offer a moral tale. The privilege of writing for the Word Made Flesh includes preparatory acts: a prayer for guidance, study of the pertinent texts, a time of contemplation and research.

The latter activity may lead to the Internet where I seek whatever useful, insightful, informed comment that vast repository might hold. Such preparation for today produced a startling outcome.

What should I find among the "useful insightful, informed comment" but (gasp!) something I had written several years ago!?!

That cold splash of reality offers the solace of the claim made by the poet T. S. Eliot: "The only wisdom we can hope to acquire is the wisdom of humility; humility is endless."

(Ralph Himsl: luimeme@telusplanet.net)