“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” –John 6:52
Every good writer knows that one way to keep your audience involved in your story is to make them feel just a bit more clued in than the characters they’re following. Viewers know, for example, not to open the vampire’s coffin at twilight: it’s too late to drive the stake when he’s about to awaken! We shout at the screen for the heroine not to select a path through that dark alley or for the hero not to turn his back on that half-opened closet door. Making the audience feel wiser than the actors gives us all an edge of superiority—How dumb that person is! How smart I would be in the same situation!
The Gospel writers are good at what they do. They present us with disciples who misunderstand Jesus at every turn. Overhearing their dialogues with their teacher, we realize there really is such a thing as a dumb question. The crowds around Jesus are, if anything, even more clueless. When Jesus calls himself living bread, they gasp, “Does he expect us to be cannibals?” No, fellas. It’s an invitation to shared life.
At what points in the Gospel story do you find yourself saying, “I would do better. I would be more loyal, more helpful—or less dense!”? Consider it an invitation.
LET US PRAY…
Lord, you give us the gift of Eucharist to remind us of the goodness of shared bread and the thirst we all have for justice and peace. Create in us a desire to be generous with those who are in need. Let us serve you in our sisters and brothers, always seeking your face in the faces of the poor. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Image credit: Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons