“I am the bread of life,” Jesus said to those who sought him after the multiplication of loaves and fish. “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” In many ways, Jesus’ words are as confounding now as then. The crowd was not sure what to make of it all. Some left. Others were filled with awe. Simon Peter spoke for the Twelve when he said, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:24-60)
Like the disciples who gathered on the hillside, we, too, may be confounded by the Lord. Every time we participate in the Eucharist, we hear the Lord’s voice in the proclamation of the readings and the homily. We share in the Lord’s presence in Holy Communion.
How is it possible that the bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood? How can we, unworthy though we are, receive this precious gift?
Those who remained with Jesus did not allow themselves to stumble on the incredible mystery of God’s love they experienced in Jesus, but rather risked putting their faith in him. Even though they did not understand, they reflected on what they saw and heard, the moments of forgiveness, healing, and love, and trusted that their experience was real and true. They became convinced that Jesus is the Holy One of God. We can learn from them and do likewise. We can reflect on what we hear and experience in the liturgy and the goodness that surrounds us, and put our faith in Christ, the Holy One of God, who gives himself for the life of the world.