Commentary for today: Thursday, April 18, 2024

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Through the first part of the Gospel today, the evangelist is synthesizing this important teaching of Jesus that we have been reflecting in the past couple of days. These are the important points of Jesus’ exhortation.
a. The Father in heaven is the initiator and source of all lives.
b. The Father wants to nourish the lives of his people with the bread from heaven.
c. The bread from heaven that gives life is Jesus – who is sent by the Father.
d. Jesus, coming from the Father, is focused on doing the will of the Father
e. And the will of the Father is that no one should be lost; all those who come to Jesus and believe in him enjoy life with Jesus and the Father for ever.

John was confronting the problem of unbelief among the people towards the end of the first century. Therefore, he wants to remind his people through the words of Jesus that no one comes to know Jesus unless the Father draws them to him. Those who refuse to accept and assimilate empathy, compassion, and love of God cannot accept Jesus either.
Jesus promises eternal life to those who believe in him. Eternal life is not something that we attain after our death rather we are already living that life with Jesus and the Father. Whoever believes, lives… lives in Jesus. Jesus is the bread came down from heaven and whoever eats this bread, which is his body, does not die… Therefore, as we believe in God, and assimilate the person of Jesus by eating his flesh, we are participating in eternal life.
To avoid misinterpreting the meaning of Jesus’ invitation to eat “his flesh” we must keep in mind what this term means, in the Gospel of John. The Semitic concept of “the flesh” is not identified with the muscles. Instead, it referred to the whole person but destined to die. In the prologue of his Gospel, John says: “The Word was made flesh” (Jn 1:14), he did not refer to the fact that the Son of God assumed the outward appearance of a man, but that he made himself similar to us, welcoming even the weakest nature of our human condition.

Therefore, the phrase, “Eat my flesh” means much more than eating the Eucharistic bread. It means to assimilate the person of Jesus – and thereby, live as another Christ with flesh and blood. This is the huge challenge that the Lord places before us: to become another Christ.

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