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.”
nIt is more difficult to follow the Lord if we don’t believe in Him! That seems like a self-evident kind of statement, but every day there are instances where those of us who profess to follow Him, do not live according to His word. Not living according to the word of the Lord is, in effect, not believing in Him.
This is why our first reading today, from the Book of Proverbs, invites the simple and the foolish to come and know true life and understanding. We can only know that true life and understanding if we are willing to believe Jesus and to follow Him. As we follow him, our belief can increase as we come to know how He acts. His way of acting in our lives is the not generally the way we act in the lives of others.
The second reading today, from the Letter to the Ephesians, repeats this call to wisdom. We are told not to live in ignorance but at least to try to understand what is the will of the Lord. How often do we do that? Do we actually take time and seek the will of the Lord? Many of us just live without thinking and without pondering what the will of the Lord might be. We humans are people capable of reasoning but quite often we do not use our reason.
The Gospel today is still from Chapter 6 of the Gospel of John. This means that it is still about the Eucharist as it has been for the past several Sundays. Over and over this Gospel writer keeps telling us: Jesus is Lord, Jesus is God, Jesus is our Savior, Jesus is truly in the bread that He gives us, Jesus is the bread that nourishes us.
This type of imagery is reflecting the reality of Jesus for us. It is not enough just to eat the bread of the Eucharist. We can eat that bread unworthily as well. We must come to know Jesus in the bread. We must consume Jesus in our daily lives. When we eat Jesus, we become Jesus. Usually when we eat something, that something becomes us. In the case of Jesus, when we eat Him, we become Him.
We eat Jesus by doing His will, by believing in Him and following what He asks of us. We eat Jesus by doing acts of love for others, even when we must sacrifice ourselves. We eat Jesus when we care for the poor and the outcast. Perhaps we eat Jesus most when we recognize His true presence in the Eucharist and receive Him physically in communion and also respond to that communion by our way of living. Let us walk in the way of the Lord.