18th Sunday of the Year
Today’s Gospel simply gives us yet another picture of the never failing kindness that Jesus manifests to those with whom he is dealing. The story is told quite briefly here in Matthew but it will be the jumping off point in the 6th chapter of St. John, when John uses the occasion of feeding the multitude to begin to talk to his listeners about bread from heaven that will give not just the food for today but rather for eternal life.
Jesus promised his followers that he would provide them with bread from heaven. He goes on to say who and what that bread was to be, namely himself. The Lord is talking about the fact that in our spiritual journey we are on our way to become one with God, and that process begins here on earth when the use of this infinite gift of the mysterious presence of Jesus within the Eucharist. We have had God’s life within us from the day of baptism and now that life can be nourished even daily by receiving our Lord himself into our lives.
Jesus is not talking about a symbolic presence. He is talking about an actual presence. He reiterates this five or six times in John 6. When his listeners take him seriously and then pull away from him he lets them go! This is when he put that awesome question to the apostles. “Do you also want to go away?”
Our response needs to be the same as that of Peter. “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”