The bread I shall give…JOHN 6:41–51
Recently there was a very interesting and moving story in the newspapers, of a young Trinidadian who had migrated to the USA and found himself in prison charged for murder.
He confessed that he was innocent but was ‘convicted 15 years to life’. His good friend who believed that he was innocent spent 21 years fighting for his release and finally he was freed. This friend who had no legal training or background, never gave up until he was able to see the man he was fighting for come out of prison.
This story is reminiscent of this Sunday’s gospel where Jesus said, “…the bread I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world”. The convicted man related that his friend dedicated his life to fighting for his freedom and to prove his innocence. He gave his flesh for the life of his friend. He stated further, talking about the devoted friend who helped him that, “this is the angel in my house”.
What makes this story seem even more incredible, as the freed man now recounts, is that the friend who had no experience in law had to challenge “the American judicial system in a saga that would go on for over two decades”. No doubt people would have mocked this man who had no training in law saying, ‘what wrong with this man? He ent have no legal training and he think he could do anyting?’.
Jesus encounters a similar situation with the Jews who ridiculed Him saying: “Surely this is Jesus son of Joseph…We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’.”?
There are times when we find ourselves in a situation where we need help. We are lost, or in a position like the same young man in the story who when he was sentenced said, “My life stopped”.
It may be sickness or the death of a loved one, or we may have found ourselves in debt so great that we could lose our property. Then a trusted friend or a relative comes along and sacrifices time and treasure to see us out of our difficulties. This friend or relative gives his/her ‘flesh’ to see that we continue living.
Those who give their flesh to assist others when in need often cannot say where their strength comes from. Jesus affirms in this gospel that: “They will be taught by God”.
I am sure that we have heard stories of people who have undertaken incredible exploits, like the divers who risked their lives to save the young football team and their coach who were stranded in the cave in Thailand. Once again we have those who have given their flesh for the life of others. One of the divers even perished in the ordeal. They cannot say from whence their strength came, for as Jesus says: “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the one who comes from God”.
Our faith causes us to have the strength to accomplish these incredible feats for: “Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world”.
Lord, I thank you for all those friends, relatives and volunteers who give their flesh for the life of the world. They do like Jesus and sacrifice their time and talent to see others live forever.
I repent for the times I do not have the courage or am too lazy to help others in need. Like the Jews, I complain instead of help.
Send us people who have valour and good will and will always be ready to give their flesh for the life of the world. They will be taught by God, and will learn from the teaching and will help us believe, so that we will have eternal life.
The Gospel Meditations for August are by Felix Edinborough, a retired secondary school teacher and a member of the Lectio Divina Group ‘Homecomers’.