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.”
Last Sunday we talked about power, money and sex as three of the most challenging areas of human life. We tried to understand that when the readings in our Scriptures speak about food, they are often talking about the values of our life and inviting us to reflect on what values we choose for ourselves. This is a way of saying that the values which we hold are the food of our inner lives just as physical food feeds our bodies.
In order to walk with the Lord Jesus, we need to accept His values and allow our lives to be formed by Him and by His word. Our inner lives must be fed by the food of the spirit, which is what Jesus’ teachings are for us. This teaching of Jesus is a wisdom tradition that He Himself gives us based on all of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures.
Today again, we are given readings that speak about this wisdom tradition. It is a tradition that tells us that there is a whole new level of existence to which we are invited. In order to live on this other level of existence, we must accept Jesus as our Lord and allow ourselves to be fed by His word and formed by His way of thinking.
When Jesus invites us to eat His flesh and drink His blood, He does so at two levels. He invites us to share His very life by eating and drinking His flesh and blood. This sounds like cannibalism and so many early non-Christians even thought of Christians as cannibals. Probably the closest we come to understanding this is when a woman and a man are in love and want to become totally one with one another. The language that they use in their love relationship is often very physical as well as very sexual.
The language used to describe the relationship of our human soul with God is often described in this same physical and at times sexual language. Some of the images in the Old Testament are very strongly physical and sexual. All of these images are simply an attempt to try to express how close a relationship can be.
Today we are given the image of bread, of food. Jesus becomes our bread of life and the food that gives us life. This can only happen if we truly become one with Him. And the only way to become one with Him is to know His word and to allow that Word to form us entirely. The first reading speaks about Wisdom as giving us a banquet and as we are fed by Wisdom, we become full of life. Jesus is that Wisdom for us. Let us ask that we may eat always at the table of wisdom, that we may become truly one with Jesus Christ and that every aspect of our lives may be transformed in Him.