Eating and Drinking
(20th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Proverbs 9:1-6; Ephesians 5:15-20; John 6:51-58)
As often happens, there is a common theme in the first reading and the Gospel. Wisdom says, “Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed!” Jesus says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
To us today, these texts might not appear so different. Jesus’ words do not shock us as they did the people to whom he spoke that day in Capernaum. The crowd could not have been expected to understand the sacramental meaning of this discourse. Their horrified reaction was perfectly appropriate.
There is much about La Salette also that is disturbing: “the arm of my son... a great famine is coming... children will die... I warned you... etc.” To this day many theologians take exception to parts of the message.
Mélanie and Maximin, on the other hand, once reassured by Mary’s invitation to come closer, seem not to have been bothered by the portions of the discourse spoken in their own dialect. In fact, I have often seen them quoted as saying, “We drank her words.”
This is something like St. Paul’s reference to drinking: “Do not get drunk on wine... but be filled with the Spirit.” I like to think the children drank in the Spirit along with Mary’s words.
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ ... Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”
For people facing the prospect of famine, this attitude requires real faith.
That said, for Catholic Christians, seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness is intermingled with eating and drinking. Which brings us back to the Eucharist. In John’s Gospel today we read, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”
The Beautiful Lady wants her people to have life within them. Drinking her words, we are reminded of the life her Son offers us in Holy Communion.