Lectio Divina 2020-06-12

Our Lectio Divina for this Friday correspond to the Body & Blood of Christ- Corpus Christi (A) John 6:51-58 Jesus is the Bread of Life “Anyone who eats this Bread will live forever”

One

“I am the Living Bread that came down from Heaven.”

Jesus gives us this message in a way that we can understand. Our bodies need bread, a staple food and blood to keep our bodily organs alive. We can’t survive without them. Of course, this bread and blood will only sustain us for 70 plus years. God willing.

The Bread and Blood Jesus talks of is Himself. He came down from Heaven to give us Himself completely. He came to feed us with food that will last for infinity. We must consume Him, Body,Blood,Soul and Divinity. Jesus says that if we eat this Bread and drink this Blood He will live in us and we in Him. How amazing is that? We can only do this through Faith and with the help of the Holy Spirit.

I pray for my Faith to be increased and strengthened so I may see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly day by day.

There have been many lovely hymns written about this piece of scripture including the beautiful Taize chant:

Eat this Bread, drink this Cup,
Come to me and never be hungry.
Eat this Bread, drink this Cup,
Trust in me and you will not thirst.

Two

“Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him”
As I read this I was mindful of John 15:4 ” remain in me as I also remain in you”

The Jews must have been horrified listening to Jesus’ words in the synagogue. Did they think he was talking about cannibalism?

My mind has many thoughts and questions about the Eucharist but what is my heart saying?

” remain in me and I in Him” – oneness, wholeness and life.I am reminded of that through the Eucharist and also of God’s great love and sacrifice for me and the world. Jesus is the bread that was sent by God – I have a choice about whether I eat it or not. Unless I can I have no life in me but when I do I will live forever.

In the C/E sending out prayer we say “send us out to be a living sacrifice” How do I put myself out for others? How does my life reflect God’s love?

Three

John 6 verse 56 “…remains in me…”

Reading the passage this morning I am very mindful that at the moment we cannot physically share the body and blood of Christ. I have been so grateful that through technology we can be still spiritually take part in the Eucharist.

Jesus remains in me and I in Him. Giving myself as well as accepting the Lord.
Committing every part of my life to Him.

Four

“The bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

As we’ve noted before, not a rejection of the world, but a benediction for its life and well-being.

c.f “I am come that men may have life and have it in abundance.” John 10:10

Not “I am come that men may have religion…”

[ I use the word “men” within the quotes only because that was the custom at the time of writing these things]

I cannot dwell on this passage without seeing it as a development of Deuteronomy 8:3 “Man does not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”

That is, we are spiritual beings as well as physical beings, and we need spiritual food as well as physical food.

The word of God is spiritual food, and here, the Word of God, embodied in Jesus, is the ultimate spiritual food.

If we take Jesus’ words too literally, we are in danger of falling into the accusations of cannibalism leveled at the early church.

Hence more modern usage such as “Feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving”

To eat is to take in, digest and be nourished – the opposite would be the word that goes in one ear and out of the other, without having much effect on what lies between.

Jesus, who embodies the Christ, in his life, teachings, death and resurrection, remains the ultimate nourishment for our souls.

As Paul used to say: Grace, Mercy and Peace to you all.

Five

At first my attention was strongly drawn to “the Jews” ( x2) but I put it aside for the time being.

“My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”

At these words I got in touch with my hunger for Christ and,especially at this time, for his real presence in the Eucharist: real food, real drink as my participation in his sacrifice, my saying yes to his salvation for me and the whole world.

I also got in touch briefly with my anger at the powers that brought about this enforced fast from Holy Communion. I appreciate such a fast can be beneficial and no doubt we have all realised this over the passed months. Maybe we have come to appreciate more than ever that Christ is our food and drink on a minute by minute basis as we open ourselves more and more to living in his will, as we focus on “putting on Christ” as St Paul urges us.

We know the Mass has not ceased to be offered across the world; many of us have participated through the internet on a daily basis.Our saying our “yes” has had to be more from the depths of our being in faith and deep silence. Maybe we have given more attention than usual to the Table of the Word and allowed ourselves to feast more on the Word of God. I pray that our future physical participation will be more mindful and spiritual wherever we are on our journey,with Word and Sacrament in closer union (Can’t express that very well!).

To come back to the “powers”. Hopefully this episode will remind us that we are constantly at war and, while we know Christ wins/has won the victory ,we need ourselves to battle daily that we , others (and the Church ?) not be overcome.

Back to “the Jews”. I felt a great sadness for those who have not yet accepted Jesus as Messiah . I pray for them and all who for many reasons do not have or have lost faith in these words of Jesus.

Thank you, Lord, that you give us this bread from heaven, your very self, to sustain us in this life with your very own life. Deepen our faith, our knowledge, our understanding, our gratitude and our love.
God bless you all.

Six

… and shall have eternal life.

Today is my sister Margaret’s funeral, I am positive she is seeing the face of God and drinking to the full pure love.

Margaret was affectionate, funny, loyal, caring and very brave – facing death with courage and serenity. She taught me so much, I am very grateful.

Seven

John 6 51-58 “…The one who eats this bread will live…”

Every morning at first light my granddaughter knocks on my apartment door holding two bowls. If I am in bed she peers through the crack in the curtains to see if I am awake. It is a daily practice, she yawns and chats whilst I make porridge for her and her brother. Porridge is porridge, but to her there is something different about Nanny’s porridge. I suspect there is more to this than just nourishing her body.

So it is with me, I need to start my day by connecting to God to be nourished. He is the first one I think about when I open my eyes. But it is not enough to spend those few moments with him I need to stop and be with Him for a while. When I do this I am more likely to be aware of His presence throughout the day. When I feel gratitude, when I need help, when someone else needs help, I taste His presence and He sustains me.

Earlier in the chapter He says ‘ He who comes to me will never be hungry, he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’ Our bodies need to be nourished regularly to grow and only God can nourish our spiritual growth. I need to come to Him and believe in Him regularly for that nourishment.

Eight

John 6: 53 “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you”.

This brings to my mind John 15:5.. “I am the vine and you are the branches, if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit…apart from me, you can do nothing”.

It is through our Lord Jesus that the Father cares for us giving us the nourishment that we need to live. The bread and wine that we receive at Holy Communion (Eucharist ), in fellowship with Him and in remembrance of Him, is to us the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ which fills us with the grace and power and renews us for His service.

We thank God that He cares for us so much that He remains with us always through the Holy Spirit even during the lockdown of this pandemic (albeit by Zoom).

Nine

‘Life’, ‘living’ are the words that pop out for me today.

Life is the one greatest gift God gives me every day, the other is allowing me to know of Him and of His presence by me. I would not exist without both gifts. And it is not only my life, but that one of others I have found in my way, especially those dear to me, that I am infinite thankful for.

Though God didn’t give me just existence, gave me purpose in life too; a lot of reasons to live, indeed.

When I was little I thought that when we pray ‘..Give us our daily bread’ was, literally, praying for satisfying the physical need to survive; but it is much more than that, is praying for our spiritual and mental nourishment as well.

In these days of lockdown I found curious that without receiving physically the Eucharist, I haven’t miss anything. The prayer of St Alphonse for a spiritual communion, has made me realize that I have had it every time when I have ‘been’ at Mass. I say ‘been’ for it has been virtual, but not in anyway lacking of the fullness of God’s graces, nonetheless.

Our Eucharist, is a sign of common union, a celebration of our live in Christ and within His wider community of believers, His Body, the universal Church. One more time thanks Lord for it.

I remember from our long ago honeymoon in Greece, that still in actual Greek ‘ευχαριστώ’ – ‘efcharistó’, (the original Eucharist word come from it), means ‘Thank you’, and I am full of thanks to Our Lord for continuing giving himself for us and to us, every time a Mass is celebrated, every time we entry in communion with God and with each other.

There is an ancient document called the Didache, (some people think it may be from the time of the apostles) that say:

Celebrate the Eucharist as follows: Say over the cup: “we give you thanks, Father, for the holy vine of David, your servant, which you made known to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever.”

Over the broken bread say: “We give you thanks, Father, for the life and the knowledge which you have revealed to us through Jesus your servant. To you be glory for ever”

I feel called by the same living bread of God not to a building, but in whatever place I am, to give Him thanks, and praise. To you be glory for ever. Amen.