Written by: Peter Nguyen, UF Student
In today’s Gospel reading, we pick up from where we left off last Sunday, continuing the Bread of Life discourse (John 6). After Jesus reaffirms the Eucharist as truly His Flesh and Blood, even those closest to Him, His disciples, were taken aback. “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” (John 6:60). The words of these disciples echo in the hearts of many throughout the history of Christianity. This lack of belief and doubtfulness can be seen in the first reading, where Joshua states, “If it does not please you to serve the Lord, decide today whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15). But just as the people gathered in front of Joshua responded, “Far be it from us to forsake the Lord… He performed great miracles before our very eyes,” (Joshua 24:16-17), so too must we remember God’s strength and gifts in his establishment of the Sacraments and Traditions of the Church, especially that of the Eucharist.
Just as the Paschal Lamb was sacrificed and eaten during Passover, Christ was sacrificed and gives His Flesh and Blood for us to eat, in order that we may be saved. How fitting and humbling is it that Jesus, the Son of God, became the new sacrificial lamb, the Lamb of God, in order to take away the sin of the world? So when we look at the Eucharist, we must not simply rely on human reasoning and emotions, but rather, we must look at this truth and sacrifice within the realm of salvation history. We must let go of our shock and recognize the beauty in this gift that God has provided for us. The Eucharist was established for our nourishment; that is why the culmination of Mass is Communion, our reception of the Eucharist. Instead of shying away from Christ’s teachings, such as many of the disciples did, we should strengthen our convictions and echo the words of Peter: “You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69).