What is decisive is to be hungry
John the Evangelist uses very strong language to insist on the need to nourish our communion with Jesus Christ. Only thus will we experience within us his very life. According to John, we need to eat Jesus: The one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This language acquires an even more forceful quality when he says that we have to eat Jesus’ flesh and drink his blood. The text is emphatic: My flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
This language no longer has the same impact among Christians. Having gotten used to hearing it from childhood, we tend to think of what we have kept doing since our first communion. We all know the doctrine we learned in catechism: at the moment of communion, Christ is made present in us by the grace of the sacrament of the Eucharist.
Unfortunately, everything can remain, more than once, as just doctrine that is thought of and accepted piously. Yet frequently we lack the experience of incorporating Christ into our concrete life. We do not know how to open ourselves to him so that he may nourish our life with his Spirit and make it more human and more conformed to the Gospel.
There is much more to eating Christ than coming forward distractedly to fulfill the sacramental rite of receiving the consecrated bread. To receive Jesus in communion demands an act of faith and an especially intense openness that one can live in the moment of sacramental communion above all, but also in other experiences of vital contact with Jesus.
What is decisive is to hunger for Jesus. It is to seek from the bottom of our heart to meet him. It is opening ourselves to his truth so that he may seal us with his Spirit and he may be the enabler of the best that is in us. It is to let him enlighten and transform the areas of our life that are not yet evangelized.
So then, to feed on Jesus is to return to what is most genuine, most simple, most authentic in his Gospel; it is to interiorize his most basic and essential attitudes; it is to kindle in us the instinct to live like him; it is to awaken our awareness of being disciples and followers so that we may make him the center of our life. Without Christians who feed on Jesus, the Church languishes hopelessly.
August 16, 2015
20 Ordinary Time (B)
John 6, 51-58