Thursday, August 16, 2012

Feeding ourselves with Jesus

by José Antonio Pagola (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Web de Jose Antonio Pagola
August 15, 2012

John 6: 51-58

Acording to John's narrative, once again the Jews, unable to go beyond the physical and material, interrupt Jesus, scandalized by the aggressive language he uses: "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus doesn't retract his statement, but gives his words more depth.

The core of his exposition allows us to delve into the experience of the early Christian communities when they celebrated the Eucharist. According to Jesus, the disciples not only have to believe in him, but they have to feed and nourish their lives with him himself. The Eucharist is a key experience for Jesus' followers.

The words that follow only serve to highlight its fundamental and essential nature: "My flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink." If the disciples don't feed themselves with him, they might be able to say and do many things, but they must not forget his words: "You do not have life within you."

To have life within us, we need to feed ourselves with Jesus, nourish ourselves with his vital breath, internalize his attitude and life criteria. This is the secret and the force of the Eucharist. Only those who commune with him and feed themselves with his passion for the Father and his love for his sons and daughters, know this.

Jesus' language is highly expressive. To anyone who feeds themselves with him, he makes this promise: "That one remains in me and I in him." Whoever nourishes themselves with the Eucharist finds that their relationship with Jesus isn't something external. Jesus isn't a role model we imitate from outside. He feeds our life from within.

This experience of "dwelling" in Jesus and letting Jesus "dwell" in us can transform our faith from the roots. That mutual interchange, this close communion, difficult to express in words, is the true relationship of the disciple with Jesus. This is following him, sustained by his life force.

The life that Jesus imparts to his disciples in the Eucharist is the same one he himself receives from the Father who is the inexhaustible Source of full life. A life that doesn't go out with our biological death. This is why Jesus dares to promise his own, "The one who eats this bread will live forever."

Undoubtedly, the most serious sign of the crisis in the Christian faith among us is the widespread neglect of the Sunday Eucharist. For anyone who loves Jesus, it's painful to observe how the Eucharist is losing its attraction. But it's even more painful to see that we are witnessing this fact from the Church without daring to react. Why?

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