A building tradesman standing on top of the roof of a building paused and thought to himself, ‘Is this all there is?’ It began a search for something more meaningful and he decided to travel. Ultimately, he visited a Buddhist temple in India and it hit him. This was his Spiritual home. It awakened an interest in meditation and in time he discovered a capacity for healing. It was an experience that transformed his life.
He is now devoted to praying for the world. He believes nothing else could be more fulfilling.
Can you picture the disciples as young boys growing up by the Sea of Galilee, learning to be fishermen no doubt through their father’s? They lived a routine life of family and work. In time, the man Jesus enters their life: A profound teacher who also displayed extraordinary capacities to heal. Many were fascinated and his following grew. Some of them it seems were deeply affected while others remained curious. His teachings became increasingly challenging to the point his following began to divide.
“Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them…whoever eats me will live forever.” We read, ‘Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.’
On the other hand, Jesus asked the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon and Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God”
THE SPIRITUAL CHALLENGE
What we call spirituality is a big challenge for people. It seems to speak of a depth and breadth of life that is far more comprehensive than the common, daily functioning at the practical level.
What the disciples found is that there is a hunger in the soul that awakens to a reality that becomes life’s greatest treasure. Everything else diminishes in importance while the longing for spiritual engagement dominates. Some find they don’t want it, but those so engaged or so enlightened, speak the words that the disciples spoke to Jesus, ‘Lord to whom else can we go”. When you have found the source of spirit then you do not want to let it go.
EAT THIS BREAD AND DRINK THIS WINE.
The passage today tells us that Jesus provoked the crowd of followers to get more serious by virtually trying to shock them. At times we all need to clarify what is important in our life.
- Do we or do we not embrace a spiritually grounded life?
- Do we or do we not know what it means for us?
Jesus challenge to his followers came in the form of language. He said, eat my flesh and drink my blood. It sounded weird to many. But for those who could read his words for what they were, words as symbols, metaphors for life, they could see his call pointed to something far greater.
The crux of his call was to discover what it meant to ‘abide in him and he in they’. It is a mutual indwelling. It is a spiritual reality that surpasses all other experience. It is the ultimate human nourishment. The symbollic expression of this call is celebrated in our Eucharistic ritual.We gather over our simple gifts of bread and wine and we prayerfully tell the central story of his life, broken and shed. Through them we find our way of abiding in him and He in us.
A MODEL - We abide in three vital ways
We gather in this sacred space, so symbolic of the divine absolute. We ponder the mystery of the divine in creation, the mystery of the divine in our midst,The divine in Jesus.
We begin quietly in our seats & personally reflect upon life, our story, our experience in the light of the scripture story. We reflect upon the extraordinary truth that we are made in the image of God.
We gather around the Lords Table and experience the unity of community. We remind ourselves that we are one body and one in the spirit
Yes we eat the bread and drink the wine, for these gifts become the focus of these three strands of reality. The three together display an infinite potency conveying the truth of the Christ. We abide in him and he in us.
It is good that the imagery is stark and challenging, for it has got to speak to the fullness of being. Where else can we go to find such nourishment?