Gospel Reflection for 20th Sunday Ordinary Time Year B – August 16th 2015
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Jesus said to the crowd:
‘I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that 1 shall give
is my flesh, for the life of the world.’
Then the Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:
‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man
and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood
has eternal life,
and 1 shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food
and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
lives in me
and 1 live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’
Recall the homely smell of freshly baked bread. We like it. Maybe the day begins well with it. But bread has to be baked with huge heat for the flour. The wheat is crushed. A way of saying that in life there is the joy and the pain; and things can go wrong. Life’s joys and sorrows are a mixture, and much of the best has some of the worst. The bitterest pain can be when the loved one dies, but you would never cancel out the love for the pain. Death is like that – the worst of life leads to the best of eternity. We often find something great in the worst of times. A good result in the exams and you forget the pain of getting them.
Best and Worst
The best and the worst also in Jesus’ life are in the bread and wine of the Mass, and in the best and worst of the life of the community. The bread can get too much water or bad flour and be ruined. The grapes can be crushed too quickly.
At the Eucharist, we hold up the world’s goodness and joys, along with its depressions and failures, and ask God to be with us in both. Bread symbolises what is good, wine the pain – this is a way of looking on the Eucharist.
Come and eat – come and offer. The best and the worst. The host we now offer….and the host we receive is the full and real Jesus, pain and all. It is truly the bread of life and the cup of salvation.
Donal Neary SJ