1.Proverbs 9:1-6
2.Ephesians 5:15-20
3.John 6:51-58

“Invited to dine with Jesus

According to some African customs, we found out that when we have moved into a new house, often we have little celebration to which we invite our friends. Once the house is to our satisfaction we open it to others and provide food and refreshments. Some call it a house warmer. It is as if the house needs a good presence of others to be properly launched. In today’s first reading something similar is happening we have this woman by the name of wisdom. She builds herself a house, clearly a very elegant home with no less than seven pillars. She throws a feast of find wine and good meat and sends out her servants into the streets to gather people to her table. In that reading the building of a house, the making of a feast, the invitation to come and eat and drink, is an imaginative way of speaking  about God as the wise host who invites all of humanity to learn from his wisdom. It is interesting that God is portrayed as a woman in this reading, woman-wisdom.

That image of Woman-wisdom who says, ‘Come and eat of my bread, drink the wine I have prepared’ finds an echo in the figure of Jesus in the gospel who declares, ‘I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever.’ Like woman wisdom Jesus invites us to come and eat of his bread, but unlike Woman-wisdom he declares himself to be that bread. We are to eat of him, to drink of him. More specifically he calls on us to eat his flesh and to drink his blood. We come to the Eucharist to draw life from the risen Lord to draw God’s life from him, God’s love. We are then sent from the Eucharist to be channels of that life, of that love, for each other. We come to the Eucharist hungering and thirsting for life, for authentic life, the life of God, the love of God, and we are sent out from the Eucharist as life givers as agents of God’s life and love within our homes, our society, our world.
Bread comes from a process of that starts with seed of wheat mixed with water. These are brought together as dough and, after several stages of development they end up as unity which we call bread. Wine begins as a cluster of grapes which when they are processed, they end up as what we call wine. A group of people gather together for prayer, each of them unique. After a process which is the work of the Holy Spirit, they become unity, which we call church, or the body of Christ. In communion, the (community) Body of Christ is being nourished by the (sacramental) body of Christ.

The Jews were surprised by these words of Jesus. They said: “ How can this man give us his flesh to eat? (v52). It is because to partake of the blood of animals is a scandal to them. This can be found in the book of Leviticus that says: “ And if anyone, whether of the of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing among them partakes of any blood, I will set myself against that one who partake of blood and will cut him off from among his people,” ( Lev 17:10). And here Jesus is offering himself to them as food. Jesus is not speaking  symbolically but literally. That is why in the early church, Christians were being accused of being cannibals because they ate the flesh and drank the blood of Jesus during their community gathering. In the language of others such people who tend to eat other’s flesh they are called witch or vampire.
The question for meditation today is that “are we worthy to receive him”? In various Christian communities there are some people who stressed so much their unworthiness to receive Jesus during communion because they are sinners or they did not yet go to confession. What is more shocking now is that how casually people receive communion. Some in the course of mass talk and forget about what is going on, some couples live together without the blessing of the sacrament of marriage but have no scruples about receiving communion. Can we seek the intimacy with the Lord during the Eucharist and exclude him in our day-to-day conversation? Can we have close relationship with Jesus during the Eucharist and exclude him from our married life?

The Canon law of the church has instructed us that we should have a Eucharistic fast one hour before receiving the Holy Communion. This is not legalistic but rather we are made aware to receive communion with reverence, to prepare us mentally, to make us aware of the greatness of the event, to make us to have the right attitude and to have a loving disposition of a heart.
Liturgical gestures are important during Eucharistic celebration. We are all invited to participate actively in the singing and praying, we dress properly, we genuflect or bow before the Blessed Sacrament upon entering the Church; we do not talk to our seatmates, we control our children and we feel responsible for the orderliness and cleanness of the church. It is because the one with us if from heaven.

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Chapisha Maoni