Wisdom has built her house, she has set up her seven columns; she has dressed her meat, mixed her wine, yes, she has spread her table. She has sent out her maidens; she calls from the heights out over the city: “Let whoever is simple turn in here; to the one who lacks understanding, she says, ‘Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.’”
Brothers and sisters: Watch carefully how you live, not as foolish persons but as wise, making the most of the opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance, but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.
Gospel Cycle Cycle B
Jesus said to the crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For 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. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
What wonderful readings we have today! In the Book of Proverbs we are invited to used our imaginations and think of the gift of Wisdom as a person preparing a banquet for us. It is as though God Himself is inviting us to learn more about how to live well in this life. In the tradition of the Hebrew Scriptures, wisdom is a gift which enables people to live well. It is not just a simple intellectual understanding, but a deep comprehension of all aspects of a situation that allows the person to make choices that enable life to flourish.
That is what we might love to have! So often our choices are narrow and only seem good in the moment. Wisdom helps us make choices that enhance our living for the rest of our lives.
It is this image of Wisdom, inviting us to a banquet, which becomes the image of Jesus inviting us to another banquet where we shall eat His flesh and drink His blood and then live for ever. The use of the Greek words in this text is so graphic that it sounds like cannibalism. Jesus wants us to understand (wisdom!) clearly that we must partake of Him entirely: body, blood, soul, divinity.
Most of us are much more comfortable keep a spiritual distance from Jesus. We want to work on our own lives and occasionally ask Him for help and assistance. But to live with Him so intimately is a scary experience.
When we begin to live with Jesus day in and day out, our lives begin to change. We feel loved by Him, that is for sure, but also challenged by Him to learn to live in new ways. We are no longer free to enjoy our angers and our impatience and our lusts. Instead we are invited to learn how to struggle with ourselves so that we can love and serve others completely as Jesus Himself did.
The second reading today speaks to this: do not live longer in ignorance nor in debauchery. Rather, live in the Holy Spirit and give thanks to God.
Do we want eternal life? Lots of people today are so comfortable in this life that they do not want anything else. Many people today do all in their power to stay young and never die. Of course, that is impossible, but billions of dollars are spent in this quest.
What is important to us in our lives? Are we people who truly seek spiritual values and seek to live in God? If we find that we are not, then today’s reading invite us to be converted and live.
Let us ask today that our hearts will be set on seeking the divine, that we may be willing to eat the body of the Lord and drink His blood—and live with His life.