16th August – 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time (B)

GOSPEL                                   John 6:51-58
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

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 bloodJesus comes
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.’

The BIBLE ALIVE commentary is as follows.

We take our eating and drinking for granted and are unaware that, in fact, we draw our life from what we eat and drink. Often it is only after a serious illness, when we are weakened in our bodies, that we become conscious of our need to strengthen our bodies through food — to ‘draw life’ from food and drink.

Jesus always ‘drew life’ from the Father (v. 57). Every day he drew apart to pray to his Father, seeking from him strength, energy and fresh inner resources. In these quiet times he begged his Father for the wisdom, vitality and power that he needed in order to undertake his Father’s work. Then, filled with new life Jesus preached, taught, healed the sick and cast out demons. Jesus always sought strength, knowledge and discernment from his Father.

In our turn, we need to ‘draw life’ from Jesus. Jesus does not want us to live in our own strength, wisdom and power. Rather, he wishes to be himself ‘our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption’ (1 Cor 1:30). For this reason he offers us himself so that we can draw life from him by feeding upon his flesh and blood. Above all, he invites us to feed upon his body and blood in the Eucharist. This demands that every day we ‘come to Jesus’ in our own quiet times to ‘draw life’ from him. Foolish people look only to themselves and their own resources. Wise people know their own resources are not sufficient and that they need to be given new resources ‘from above’ (John 8:23). They seek out the Lord’s courage, strength and wisdom for everything they undertake. They are intensely conscious of their need ‘to draw life’ from Jesus.

Every day come into Jesus’ presence and ‘draw life’ from him. Acknowledge to him your weakness and your lack of wisdom and insight. Ask him to fill you with new resolve and courage, discernment and understanding, endurance, hope and faith. Do this again before receiving the Eucharist for ‘he who eats me will live because of me’ (v. 57).

Jesus, you are ‘the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die’ (v. 50). Teach me to ‘draw, life’ from you so that I live in you and you live in me.