Commentary on the Gospel of
In metaphor, the eating of the scroll by John is a picture of him understanding the intent of Scripture and then applying that learning to experience by faith. Consuming the scroll is indicative of the importance of God’s Word as the Scripture engages the health of our souls. There may be pain in that as transformation may cause pain. We can become complacent and comfortable with certain sins and we may resist God’s plan to change us. We might wince as we reflect and learn that in fact, we are part of the problem and there may be bitterness and anguish in that reflection.
This passage is more about receiving God's Word for life-nourishment that is needed and essential for us to survive and thrive; it is for sustenance and maximizing joy. Why are they bitter? God's ways go deep within us, changing us from the inside out. His teachings encourage and even exhort us to move from our ways to His Way.
The Gospel reading reinforces another facet of John’s experience. Without realizing it, we frequently clutter up our internal space with less important interests and even sinful predispositions and Jesus has to try and drive them out. It’s a great gift to communicate with the Lord and to try and co-operate with him in making space for what really matters in our life. Just as Jesus drives out the money changers in the Temple his fervent wish is to create that same clear space for worship and communion within us.