FOR THE Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, we read that Jesus exercised boundless love by crossing ethnic borders. Read about his travels in Syria and Phoenicia!
PEACE BE WITH YOU!
TO THOSE persons seeking discussion for Sundays coming forth in the lectionary, we offer a listing according to the three-year calendar.
On the right-hand column of this page, please find the past corresponding year for lectionary years A, B, or C.
And then search the appropriate month in each for a discussion concerning the gospel reading.
Monday, August 30, 2021
Monday, August 23, 2021
Thursday, August 5, 2021
FOR THE Twelfth Sunday and Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost, we have several choices as to which lesson we shall choose to study. Since the lectionary reading for this week varies across Christian denominations, we formerly had dealt with the Markan text previously in another writing. If you so choose, access the lesson here...
Here however we shall examine the reading from the Gospel According to Saint John, the one wherein Jesus taught about the duality of his being for us in the festive meal of bread and wine. Our Lord said...
I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.” This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Caperna-um.
Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”
But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him.
And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
|Eucharist: Bread of Life
By Joshua J. Whitfield
Water and Bread
Our gospel relates that after a brief rest for the disciples, our Lord Jesus joined his followers as they crossed the sea. Arriving on the shore in or near the town of Caperna-um, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach those who gathered. To all who were present our Lord identified himself, and informed all of his mission. However, it seems that everyone who listened had difficulty in understanding his two natures. Informing human beings of such mystery, we who have minds blinded by sin.... having trouble yet comprehending the effect which is like the yeast causing the rising of bread before baking. To the mind it often seems a futile kneading.
The recipe of this teaching hinges on each listener understanding what it means to "believe" in the one whom God the Father has sent. You see, belief is paramount for knowing the reward and reality of inheriting eternal life. Thus in order to teach both the orthodox Jews of that synagogue community and his gathered disciples, Jesus made historical reference and comparison to the "manna" that God had provided during the freeing of the Hebrew people from bondage. That bread sustained the physical life of the people but would not prevent death. Jesus then taught that the Bread of Life which is Christ will sustain spiritual life beyond death.
We note that indeed the teaching does not deliver us from physical death, but spiritual life may be awarded to the believer. Jesus, who stood before them, is God’s offer of salvation to all of humanity. Believing in him, provides the Church an opportunity to embrace this new and authentic existence.
To be sure, the identification of the bread with his flesh created a rowdy argument from the crowd. Those who attended took the teaching of Jesus literally. By doing so, they could not find any sense in his statement. Jesus responded with a much more radical statement.
|Believe and Have Eternal Life Shirt, Black, Large|
You see, flesh and blood is a Hebrew's method of speaking of the whole person and describing the earthly character of our lives. By stating that he is the Son of Man, Jesus presented thoughts that our Lord was more than just a mere man or just a ghostly spirit. Scripture repeatedly witnessed that Jesus bodily suffered as a flesh and blood human. The death of Jesus as a human may then be intended here as well.
Subsequent to this initial statement, argument arose, because Jesus stated that unless you have the Spirit there is no life in you. This was striking in its absoluteness and its exclusiveness. Whether the polemic was against Jews of John’s day or doubters of a later time, we cannot know. However, from the statement we know the opportunity of life is found only in an incorporation of the whole human and spiritual revelation of God.
No doubt the thought of a person being literally consumed by eating, raised the specter of cannibalism in the minds of the audience. Hence we can understand the alarm. However, in expressing the concept that life exists in both a physical and spiritual way, our Lord stressed the divine intimacy between he and the Father and the Holy Spirit. Jesus as the Son of Man, was sent into this world as a flesh and blood human being for our salvation. We who through this writing believe in Jesus as the Son of God find, therefore, that he was appointed as the source of redemption and life.
Got That? Now This...
Continuing his answer to doubts about eating, our Lord radicalized the conversation. Jesus added the act of drinking his blood. It seems that here the later Christian community rightly preserved the tradition of flesh and blood. However, the absence of clear allusions to the Holy Supper is found nowhere else in this gospel. There is consequently little to indicate that either John or his churches were initially sacramental. Subsequent to this writing, possibly after the expulsion of the infant Church populace from the synagogue... the Sacrament as real body and blood emerged as an important part of community life. However, we must note the importance given that persons must take into themselves the whole of the revelation of Jesus the Christ of God.
|John, the Maverick Gospel, Third Edition
By Robert Kysar
We of the modern Church are called not to repeat the mistakes and reluctance of those first listeners to this great teaching. We are to examine ourselves in light of these words whenever we are called by the Spirit to come to the Eucharist table. If we relegate this gospel account about Jesus as just an ancient story describing a literary phantom, our unbelief denies that he bodily took the punishment for our sins upon the cross. Also, if we deny that Jesus was not, and still is not... the divine Son of God, we have no Advocate in the heavenly court to recognize and advance we sinners before the Father. Thus we shall fall far short in the perfection needed to be in the presence of God. In such a dire case, neither our religious attendance or good works will suffice for our salvation.
Finally, if we hold to the grace of God given by faith in Christ Jesus, and that living faith provided is evidenced by our accepting of baptism into the kingdom... we are truly invited to partake of our Lord as he resides in, with and under the Bread of Life. So it is that we come to the table, and so it shall be!
Now, please be invited to view this video about the Bread of Life...
May the Peace of God that surpasses human understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus, Our Lord.