TWENTIETH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME, YEAR B
“I was hungry
I was thirsty
But he has given me
more than food and drink
for my body
he has given me
the food and drink of angels
(The Bread of Life and Me)
By Fr. Euly Belizar, Jr.
ALL of us who went to school know it wasn’t always fun. Remember how we were told as children to read books and listen to teachers to get wisdom? Remember also how most of our classmates, you and me included, found school and books boring? We waited for recess to eat snacks and drink something we really like. Didn’t our eyes brighten up when the bell rang for lunch break? But what if wisdom itself provided us real food and drink and invited us to leave behind foolishness by eating and drinking them?
Wisdom in the book of Proverbs sounds like a person.
Here’s the catch. God’s Wisdom is really a Person according to John the evangelist. In fact, he was made flesh, which is his lingo for “became a human being”. That is, he entered our boring, often hungry world. Mahatma Gandhi once said,”Considering how hungry and thirsty our world is, I wouldn’t be surprised if God would come to it in the form of food and drink.”
John the Gospel writer says that, in fact, this happened more than two thousand years ago. The Son of God came down from heaven to become our food and drink in his flesh and in his blood. And, moreover, his flesh and blood are the real key to finding the elixir of life that’s full. “He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has like eternal, and I will raise him up on the last day.” Why? How? His flesh and blood joins us to the Son of God. “The one who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
I’ve enjoyed fiestas not only for the food and drinks given for free. I see two reasons. One, they are a chance to share with other people out of what we have received from life. Two, food and drink cement friendships and camaraderie. The Eucharist is, to a degree, like that. That is why, as we search for real life, it is cool to be wise by being imbued with God’s wisdom. And God’s wisdom is in the Person of him who invites us to eat his flesh and drink his blood and anyone who does so already “has life eternal”. It is not a future event. Jesus says the future is already present because of the Eucharist. One aunt, before she died years ago, shared with me how understanding the Eucharist made her less afraid of dying. “Jesus’ risen body is in me, and he will take me to life everlasting.” I couldn’t agree more. Even now.
The great Catholic theologian Karl Rahner reminds us of the Eucharist’s real gift: “What Christ gives us is quite explicit if his own words are interpreted according to their Aramaic meaning. The expression ‘This is my body (and ‘This is my blood’)’ means ‘This is myself’.”