Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
Thank you for joining today as we continue this short time wherein we consider the mysteries of God and His action to save us. This includes the Mystery of the Trinity (last week), of the Body and Blood of Jesus (starting this past Thursday and continuing to this Thursday), and the power of God’s Word (next Sunday).
From last Sunday through June 18th each of these topics is put before us, not so we get some academic explanation of them, but so we can learn of God’s awesome love, His desire for us, His self-revelation, and finally His desire that we trust and love Him in return.
Last week we discussed trust and how trust is established in each of us, and also how trust can be broken. Trust is key to our relationship with God.
It is interesting that Western Christian tradition has somehow moved so far from simple trust. This is not just something that has happened in the past couple hundred years. It is far more long term.
Part of the problem is evident in the Jewish crowd’s reaction to Jesus’ words: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven.” They had seen the signs. Scripture was being fulfilled before their eyes. They heard His witness and testimony. The thousands had just been fed and Jesus was telling them of far more excellent bread, one that would feed them unto life eternal – yet they wouldn’t believe. They could not trust even in the scriptures they claimed as the guide for all they did.
The early, pristine, evangelical Christians believed. Their belief was untainted. They certainly had thinkers, the Fathers, among them and they could answer the academics – but not with just academics, but with faith based on witness.
Through the centuries academic explanations became more important. Overthink something and place labels on it and we lose mystery and trust in God’s provision. ‘Hey, I can explain it – what do I need God for.’
In the past sixty-one years the Roman Church moved away from symbols of respect for the Blessed Sacrament. For them, it became just a thing which needed no care in handling. As a result, almost 70% of RC’s no longer believe the bread and wine are indeed Jesus fully present. It is sad.
We hold unto the mystery, not in academic explanations, but in what we say and do at each Holy Mass. How we act with reverence – like Jesus is really here – because we know and trust He is. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Because He is God, and we trust in Him.