Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proverbs 9:1-2 Ephesians 5:15-20 John 6:51-58
God speaks to us in many ways, including through our Sunday Scripture readings. On the four Sundays of August, we were invited to reflect on the Eucharistic readings from the Gospel of St. John, Chapter Six. There is a rich connection between the Readings from Proverbs and Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
The reading from Proverbs speaks of the warmth and hospitality extended to the guests who were invited to the banquet. They must give up their foolish ways to be welcomed. They must set aside their foolishness and advance in the way of understanding. One wonders who will accept the invitation. Would you or I?
The selection from Proverbs connects to the Gospel readings in which Jesus identifies as the living bread which gives flesh for the life of the world. Throughout this discourse, Jesus is trying to draw followers into a deeper understanding of what is being offered to them. This was a different saying, many began mumbling and arguing among themselves, and some even walked away. This is similar to people today, those who refuse to listen and act on God’s message of seeking justice, peace, and reconciliation.
In the Gospel, some have difficulty with Jesus’ teaching that he is the living bread sent by God. Jesus told them that just as God gave the Israelites means to sustain them in the desert, so now God has sent new manna that will give eternal life.
Among the stumbling blocks for those who heard but did not understand, Jesus is teaching that he will give his flesh. The crowd continued to quarrel over the words. Jesus continued to preach that salvation comes to those who eat the body and drink the blood. Jesus does not explain how salvation will come about, but about the life that will be given to the world.
Too many of Jesus’ words are disturbing and difficult to hear. Many who heard Jesus could not accept what was said. In our world today, many continue to struggle to accept the words. These words are important because they reveal our intimate connection with Jesus. They invite us to take our place among the followers and to respond to the words.
Sister Ursula McGovern, O.P.