Newness that Is Amazing and Shocking
Jesus embodies newness. This newness amazes and shocks.
The newness that is Jesus shows up undoubtedly as he feeds about five thousand. Like sheep in green pastures.
Due to the newness of the sign Jesus does, those who have eaten try to make him king. But he withdraws to the mountain alone. It does not take them long to look for him.
But the amazing newness turns shocking as he begins to explain what the sign means. Soon he says that the living bread from heaven is his flesh. And they quarrel among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh?”
They do not know this food, nor did their fathers. But Jesus does not back down in the face of those who disagree. He does not soften his hard saying. He warns, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life ….”
Jesus does not lessen the newness of his saying.
Jesus embodies newness, making his hearers ask one another in amazement, “What is this? A new teaching with authority.” He also turns upside-down everything that the world deems normal.
That is because he proclaims the poor blessed. He asks us to leave behind violence, revenge. He also calls for new wineskins for new wine. Likewise, he amazingly underscores that, without the new birth, there is no salvation. He tells us, too, that it shall not be so among us as among pagans. Among us, greatness is service and self-giving for others.
Moreover, Jesus states at the Last Supper that the cup of blessing is the new covenant. Of course, the Teacher gives us the new commandment to love as he does, to the end. Finally, just before going up to heaven, he says that those who believe will speak new languages.
Right, then, are the teachings about the new life, new creation, new self, new mind, new person. To belong to Christ is to follow the new and living way. It means etching into our mind and heart his commandment, delighting in it in the depths of our being. If we do not swerve from the New Testament, to the right or to the left, Jesus will surely give us his newness.
And the closer, inwardly and outwardly, what is below to what is above, the nearer to us the new heaven. The first time the Israelites saw manna, they ask what it was. When we become the good above that we think of, people today may ask, “What is this?”
Lord Jesus, make us duly worshipful of the Eucharist that comes from your infinitely inventive love (SV.EN XI:131). Grant us to avail of it also. That way we can give the best possible honor to your newness that the mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity and the Incarnation show (CRCM X:1. 2).
18 June 2017
Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (A)
Dt 8, 23. 14b-16a; 1 Cor 10, 16-17; Jn 6, 51-58