The twentieth Sunday has coincided with August 15, the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, and so we have not read verses 51-58 of John chapter 6, in which Jesus says: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats this bread he will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." and then, to the Jews' unbelief -"How can this one give us his flesh to eat?"-Jesus reiterates six times in six verses that we really must "eat" his flesh and "drink" his blood to have life in us, to have eternal life already in the present, and to be resurrected by him on the last day; to take up our abode in him and he in us, to live for him as he lives for the Father, to live eternally.
And that he is the bread that came down from heaven, that his flesh is true food and his blood is true drink. At the beginning of the discourse on the bread of life, Jesus' interlocutor is "the multitude". Then "the Jews" stand out as objectors and murmurers.
Now, however, the test of Jesus becomes even more difficult because it is "many of his disciples" who, having heard him speak in this way, take the side of the Jews, murmur and cannot believe that what he promises and reveals can really happen. To the point of deciding to break with him and follow him no more. They explicitly say to each other: "This word is hard! Who can hear it?". Jesus knows what they say in a low voice and do not have the courage to affirm in front of everyone. He tries to argue so that they change their minds: as in our body the flesh without the spirit, with death, decays, so the spirit that gives life to the body is able to change the bread into his body, and therefore make the bread give us his life, if we eat it. But it is not the arguments that change the minds of the hearers, but the Father, who grants to believe in the Son and to dwell in him. In saying this, Jesus removes the blame from those who do not believe in his words, and "they were no longer with him". He gives them this freedom and increases it with his words.
As proof of this style, he also reiterates and increases the freedom of the twelve who stayed with him. "Do you guys want to leave too?". Peter, answering this question, shows that he has been drawn by the Father to Jesus and enlightened by His Spirit upon him: "....Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life".. These two phrases together mean that there is no one else who has the words of eternal life: only you, only you! We have no one to turn to who can tell us about eternal life. "We have believed and known that you are the Holy One of God.". Blessed are you, Simon, who believed in what the Father has revealed to you.
The homily on the readings of Sunday 21st Sunday
The priest Luis Herrera Campo offers its nanomiliaa small one-minute reflection for these readings.