We should regard the readings today as an extended meditation on the role of law in our lives. We are talking of course of religious laws not secular ones.
The Gospel text for today is the last of a series taken from the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John. We are in the Year of Mark but these last five Sundays are devoted to the Gospel of John. The editors of the Lectionary obviously think that St Mark’s account of the life of Christ needs some supplementing.
You can imagine how difficult it was for the Jewish people at the time of Jesus to come to terms with his teaching on the Eucharist. The words he uses as recorded in the Gospel of John must have sounded incredible to them, ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’
Today in our liturgy we celebrate the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While this doctrine was only formally defined by Pope Pius XII in 1950 it has been the constant belief of Catholics going back in antiquity.
Jesus continues his teaching on the Eucharist in the extract from John’s Gospel chosen for this Sunday. We are also given for our reflection the account of how the angel fed the Prophet Elijah with bread strengthening him for his long journey from Mount Carmel to Mount Sinai. We see this as another prefigurement of the Eucharist.
Father Alex McAllister SDS
Parish Priest of
St Thomas à Becket