One of the distinctive characteristics of the gospel according to Saint John is that in it, Our Lord makes a number of statements about himself beginning with “I am . . .” “I am the light of the world; I am the way, the truth, and the life; I am the good shepherd, etc.” In the gospel of today’s Mass we find two of these “I am” statements and you might even say three of them. Jesus says to us: “I am the bread of life,” and, “I am the living bread.” And then he goes on to say “the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” That’s tantamount to another “I am” statement.
What a privilege to be able to attend Mass, to hear Christ promising to give his flesh to eat and his blood to drink, to know that he first fulfilled that promise at the Last Supper, and then actually to receive that divine food which he promises in this gospel passage!
From a hillside in Galilee where he first made the nearly incredible promise, to the upper room in Jerusalem where he first fulfilled it, to our churches and chapels throughout the world today where many, many devout Christians hungrily, devoutly, lovingly approach Our Divine Lord in the most holy Sacrament of the altar—what a marvelous progression that is! How fortunate we are. “Whoever eats this bread will live forever,” Jesus tells us. So we can add another stage to the Galilee/Jerusalem/our home church progression, and that is Heaven, to which the Lord, in the Living Bread, is shepherding us. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.