Ordinary time year B Jn 6, 60 - 69
Eating flesh and drinking blood for the Jews was and is anathema. However, we have come to understand, as St Paul tells us, that we are the Body of Christ. Paul adds that although the role each part of the body plays is different, each part has a unique and fulfilling role. No one would argue that the body needs flesh and blood flowing through it to live. Nor would anyone argue about the importance of Love as key to the whole purpose and fulfilment of life. Although speaking about eating flesh and drinking blood sounds shocking, it is one of the best ways for Jesus to tell us that he wants to become fully part of our lives; not just part of our lives but fully integrated into everything that we do, say and are. We say and sing “Taste and see that the Lord if Good!” which is not just about tasting the bread and the wine but about being touched and being aware of the presence of God in a way that is uplifting, affirming and reassuring, a felt reality. This is why coming together for the eucharist is so important. The presence of God flows through each us as the blood flows through the body.
Sr Macrina Wiederkehr writes about the Last Supper:
Supper was special that night. There was both a heaviness and a holiness hanging in the air. We couldn’t explain the mood; it was sacred, yet sorrowful. Gathered around the table eating that solemn, holy meal seemed to us the most important meal we had ever sat down to eat. We were dwelling in the heart of mystery. Though dark the night, hope felt right as though something evil was about to be conquered. And then suddenly the One we loved startled us. He got up from the table and put on an apron. Can you imagine how we felt? God in an apron! Tenderness encircled us as He bowed before us. He knelt and said, “I choose to wash your feet because I love you.” God in an apron, kneeling. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was embarrassed until his eyes met mine. I sensed my value then. He touched my feet. He held them in his strong, brown hands. He washed them. I can still feel the water. I can still feel the touch of his hands. I can still see the look in his eyes. Then he handed me a towel and said, “As I have done, so must you do.” Learn how to bow. Learn how to kneel. Let your tenderness encircle everyone you meet. Wash their feet not because you have to, because you want to. It seems I’ve stood two thousand years holding the towel in my hands, “As I have done so must you do,” keeps echoing in my heart. “There are so many feet to wash,” I keep saying “No,” I hear God’s voice resounding through the years. “There are only my feet. What you do for them you do for me.”
by Fr Thomas O'BRIEN a.a