Home » Blog » 20th Sunday B

20th Sunday B


In the parish, we receive requests for instructions of adults who want to be accepted into full membership in the Catholic Church.  While before it was easy to convert, today this process entails formation, study and prayer. We have catechists who assist the candidates.  One such catechist is Ate Tess who is so happy when a candidate is assigned to her.  But then, not a few times, she approached me in tears because along the way, some candidates just stopped in their tracks.  Initially wanting to follow Jesus, they sensed that it would be too hard for them.

As we follow the gospel of John these past few Sundays, we hear Jesus continuously introducing himself as the Food for Life – the Bread that we must eat and the Blood that we must drink. What do these words really mean?  Was Jesus merely using an imagery to illustrate His death?  The gospel shows us that in fact, Jesus was seriously talking about His sacrifice on the cross and about something else that is a new and difficult teaching.

Listening to Him, the Jews murmured in protest.  They quarreled among themselves about the meaning of the words of the Lord.  This means that they realized Jesus was not speaking about mere symbols. His words were loaded with meaning and referred to a new teaching that they cannot easily accept.  Many of these followers will, like some adult candidates for baptism, retrace their steps and stop following the Lord.

Like the earliest disciples, we know that the Lord, speaking of the True Food and the True Drink, was really pointing to the Eucharist, the celebration where we encounter Jesus in His Body and Blood.  As Catholics, we believe that the Eucharist is serious stuff.  We attend the weekly celebration because it gives us life, courage and strength to move on amidst the many trials of life.  But we also come conscious that receiving the Lord here entails a commitment to the Lord we receive.

Jesus says: “whoever eats My body and drinks My blood remains in Me and I in him.”  Our presence here reminds us that we want Jesus to live in our hearts and we desire to live in His heart as well.  But this is not theoretical.  This must be a real and living relationship.  It is a call for a personal faith; one that challenges the way we live our private as well as our social lives. 

This is the reason why we cannot just receive the Lord if in our hearts, we have unrepented sins or when we continue to live in situations that contradict our faith. This is least emphasized today, but it is important to realize that without confession and repentance, we cannot commit ourselves to Jesus.

This is also the reason why after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, we need to take care that we truly live in ways that conform to His will.  From the Eucharist we learn to forgive, to share, to be honest and kind to everyone. If we truly receive Jesus, though we are still weak, our lives will never be the same again.

This is hard teaching but truly liberating.  The Eucharist we celebrate demands our resolution to live seriously for God and for others.