CHRIST vs. CONSUMERISM
(Friday, May 5)
“…and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore quarreled among themselves, saying, ‘How can this Man give us His flesh to eat?’ Then Jesus said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.’” (Jn 6:52-54)
Today we all understand that here the Lord is talking about the sacrament of Holy Communion; of eating and drinking the consecrated Bread and Wine that, according to His word, are His Body and Blood. But the crowd that was listening to Him at this point in John 6, which is long before the Last/Mystical Supper, has no idea what He is talking about. It is preposterous. And at first glance, it is still preposterous. Why would our Lord choose this way of offering Himself “for the life of the world”? I mean, why does He command us to “take, eat,” and “drink of it,” – His flesh and blood, that we and the world may have enduring life? So that we stop “consuming” one another and our world, in ways that are destructive for us and the world. Because we tend to seek the material, the physical benefits, from one another and our world, as if they were the be all and end all of our desires and needs.
The crowd in the passage quoted above had just been fed at the miracle of the multiplication of the breads (at the beginning of John 6) and was now interested in getting “more.” They, like us, tended to seek from one another and also from Him material benefits. But Jesus was disappointing them, nay, insulting and shocking them, with this talk of Him, in the flesh, being the “bread of life,” which He brings so that we stop destroying ourselves and our world, which were not created to fill that hole in our hearts that can be filled only by God. It can be and is filled spiritually and sacramentally, by the Bread and Wine that His Spirit makes for us His Body and Blood, His presence in us and among us. So, let me direct my hunger and thirst for “more” toward Him, that I don’t misdirect it toward the wrong people, places and things, which never can fill that hole in my heart that leads me to destructive and self-destructive consumerism, addictions, and codependencies. Lord, “give us this day our daily bread” and forgive us for seeking it in the wrong places and ways. Amen!