The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, «How can this man give us his Flesh to eat?» Jesus said to them, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever." These things he said while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (Jn 6:52-59)It's easy to think of it as a "proof text" for the real presence, just as Matthew 16 is a "proof text" about the papacy. So I appreciated dailygospel's meditation for today by Pope Benedict, which helps to render it more devotional, and less controversial:
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In the Gospel discourse that we have just heard he says, "He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him". How is it possible not to rejoice in such a promise? However, we have heard that at his first announcement, instead of rejoicing, the people started to murmur in protest: "How can he give us his flesh to eat?".
To tell the truth, that attitude has frequently been repeated in the course of history. One might say that basically people do not want to have God so close, to be so easily within reach or to share so deeply in the events of their daily life. Rather, people want him to be great and, in brief, we also often want him to be a little distant from us. Questions are then raised that are intended to show that, after all, such closeness would be impossible. But the words that Christ spoke on that occasion have lost none of their clarity: "Let me solemnly assure you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you".
Pope Benedict XVI, Homily for the Italian Eucharistic Congress, 29/05/05 (© Libreria Editrice Vaticana)