I stopped for something to eat the other day along the seashore at Montauk, Long Island, a place I stopped by chance. “We have a nice fish chowder, everything fresh from near here,” the waitress said, so I ordered the fish chowder. Couldn’t have been better, better than anything I expected.
Our first reading today for Sunday Mass is about a meal that’s even better, better than we could expect or plan for. Someone wise provides it. It’s not a meal for just one or two; we’re all invited to the table. Amazingly, it’s free; we don’t have to pay for it.
Listen again to the Book of Wisdom: “Whoever is simple turn in here; to the one who lacks understanding, she says, Come eat my food and drink of the wine I have mixed.”
“Whoever is simple turn in here.” I suppose that means whoever is hungry, whoever is weary, whoever is burdened, come and eat. Aren’t those the ones Jesus felt compassion for. “Come to me, and I will refresh you,” he said. Don’t we qualify for an invitation like this? His refreshment is beyond what earthy food or drink can bring.
Where can we find this meal, except in the Eucharist, where “we taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” A goodness beyond our expectations.
“Take and eat, this is my body.” “Take and eat, this is my blood.” The people in today’s gospel (John 6,51-58) are repulsed by Jesus when he says “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink of his blood you cannot have life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day.”
“How can he give us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink?” They take his words in too narrow a way. Who tells us to do this? Who’s the One who offers us his body and blood? The Lord of all, who made all things. He contains all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He’s the Lord of life who gives life. He promises resurrection, while knowing the reality of our death.
No other meal can compare to this. No other food can satisfy us; no other drink can quench our thirst .