Devotional Thoughts for the 8th Sunday after Pentecost – 19th Jul 2015

Reading: From the Gospel according to St. John 6: 47-59
Dear and Respected Brethren,
In today’s reading, we find our Lord giving great importance to Holy
Eucharist. In verse 47 we read, “verily verily I say unto you, He that
believes on me has everlasting life. When we read about the love of
the Father, who sent his only begotten son, it is clearly mentioned
that the incarnation of our Lord itself is to grant the everlasting
life for one and all. (St. John 3:16) In the next sentence our Lord is
introducing himself as the bread of life. Our Lord’s sincere ambition
to enter in each and everyone forced him to accept the bread, which is
the usual food of people of all classes; faiths will not hesitate to
accept the normal food. And hence our Lord selected the normal food as
a means to enter into the lives of you and me. In verse 49, our Lord
explains the difference between the normal food and the bread of
Heaven and our earthly food. Manna was rained among the sons of
Abraham on their way to the Promised Land. Our Lord is mentioning
about their spiritual death, even when they had eaten the Manna. The
body and blood of our Lord saves the faithful who would partake from
it from the spiritual death. Here our Lord is telling about the
greatness of the Holy Sacrament of Eucharist. The Holy Eucharist is
granted to us as His blessed body and blood. Now more people are
partaking the Holy Eucharist in our Churches in India and abroad since
we are allowed to do so after having the absolution. We should not
misuse it as a license to accept the Holy mysteries without proper
preparation, prayer, meditation and attention. Every time we might
accept the Holy Eucharist, we have to pray earnestly to redeem us from
wrath and to enable us to enjoy the forgiveness of our sins.
In today’s reading we find the teaching of our Lord and Savior about
His flesh and blood which would enable one and all to inherit the
eternal life with Him. The topic of discourse was a very difficult
topic for the listeners of that occasion. Do we also come across such
a situation when we would attempt to partake the Holy mysteries? Or do
we accept the Holy Eucharist every week with the staunch faith that it
is the flesh and blood of our Lord and Savior? The advantage of
partaking the Holy Eucharist depends upon the faith of the individual.
In verse 47 we read “Verily verily, I say unto you, He that believes
on me has everlasting life”. We have to examine our own faith and its
volume in us, at the every chance we use to partake the Holy
Eucharist. How we could believe in Lord Jesus? We must realize the
deepness of God’s love in saving us from the bondage of sins and
death. That is what is said in St. John 3:16. In verse 48 our Lord
declares that He is the bread of life. When our Lord established the
Holy Eucharist as a means of salvation of the future generations, our
Lord selected the bread and wine, the usual food and drink of ordinary
people of those days. Our Lord said “my body is the real food and my
blood is the real drink”. Can anyone accept the raw meat and blood?
Our Lord wanted to enter in you and me at least through our usual
food, which no one would hesitate. That is why our Lord selected the
bread and wine as the matter for holy mysteries. As per our Lord’s
command to continue the same until his second coming, the Holy Church
is continuing the same process of salvation with due reverence and awe
feeling. Our Church teaches that the Holy mysteries get changed as the
flesh and blood of our Lord, through the Holy Spirit, who dwells upon
the Holy mysteries during the worship. (Though there is no change for
the matter, it is believed that the mysteries do become the flesh and
blood of our Lord by God’s grace)
When our Lord taught the only one prayer, He insisted to pray for the
daily bread. Our Lord wanted us to have a “come-in-union” (It became
communion later) with Lord God on all possible occasions. So He
insisted and taught us to pray for the daily bread or to get the bread
every day. When we say this prayer in Malayalam, many use the term
“Ahaaram” instead of “appam”. We should not forget that the ahaaram is
for the worldly life and the appam is for the spiritual life. So
kindly use “njangalkku aavasyamulla appam innum tharaname”. When our
Lord said that he is the bread of life and the one who has come down
from heaven, the Jews strove among themselves, saying how he could
give us his flesh to eat. We might also have some or other doubts like
this. We must try to avoid all sorts of doubts like this, keeping a
staunch faith in our Lord. When our Lord heard about the doubt of the
Jews, he said that they could not have life in them unless they would
eat the flesh of the son of Man and drink the blood of the son of Man.
In verse 54 our Lord promises additionally to raise all those who
might eat his flesh and drink his blood on the last day. In Verse 55
we read, “For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
Here our Lord is explaining why he has selected the normal food and
drink as means instead of his flesh and blood. Our Lord was sure that
not even a single person on earth would deny the normal food and
drink. So he decided to enter into the lives of each and every one of
the human beings, through the normal food and drink at least. We know
what happens to our normal food immediately after our consumption. The
digestive system converts them as blood and the small veins take the
good portion of our food as blood into the nerves system. And blood is
the life giving part of the body. This is what happens exactly to the
Holy Eucharist that we consume. It turns as the blood of Lord Jesus
and mixes with the blood in our body. When the blood of Lord Jesus is
added to our human body, our human blood gets purified and gets
converted as Lord’s blood. In other words, our life turns to be the
life of our Lord. That is what we are reading in verse 56
When the Scribes and Pharisees whispered “how he could give us his
flesh to eat” our Lord told them: “unless you partake my flesh and
blood, you will not have life in you.” (Verse 52-53) We often forget
the fact that our spirituality is weak because we are not particular
to have Holy Communion of having His flesh and blood. We must make it
a practice to have regular partaking of Holy Eucharist. 54th verse is
so promising. “One who eats my flesh and drinks my blood will have
eternal life and on the last day I will raise him/her”. What else we
need? Think and do the needful. See verse 56. He that eats my flesh
and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in him”. (kindly read Isaiah
57:15, Romans 8:9, I Cori. 3: 16, and 2 Cori 6: 16)
Our Lord says that He is the bread that came from heaven and
differentiates himself with Manna, a sort of bread which was granted
to the children of Abraham during the days of their pilgrimage through
the wilderness. Our Lord establishes that the heavenly bread is good
enough to grant us eternal life. In verse 57 we read, “As the living
Father has sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eats me, even
shall live by me.” Here we must ascertain where we live after
consuming the Holy Eucharist. Are we living with/ near our Lord or are
we staying far away from our Lord. Are we not supposed to live more
closely with our Lord, instead of living as we like? We often maintain
spirituality on Sundays only. When we are out of the Church compound,
we feel that we are in some other world. Let us try to put an end to
such life styles. Let us adopt a life with Jesus Christ, our Lord and
God, while we are in the house, church and society.
The Holy Church honors the sacrament of Holy Eucharist as the crown of
all sacraments and it is taught that unless and until the Holy
Eucharist is administered, all other sacraments would not be complete.
Let us examine our usual response to the Holy  Eucharist. Let us
analyze how far we are trustworthy to the divine blessing.
May God bless us to make use of the heavenly bread always.

Jose Kurian Puliyeril