Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection 4-27-23

3rd week of Easter, Thursday, 4-27-23, Year A
Readings: First Reading Act 8:26-40; Ps 66:8-9,16-17,20; Gospel Jn 6:44-51
Theme: When The Impossible Becomes Possible

When the impossible becomes possible, an inflection point is created. We have one of two ways to go. Believe that what was once impossible is now possible and is real, or it is not real and is something else, hyperbole if you will. For many, who use the world as the measuring stick for what they believe, will understand this phenomenon only as a metaphor or something akin to being representative of the event but still is impossible.

For example, the science and understanding of the time before Christopher Columbus was that the world was flat. If you sailed beyond the known limits of the ocean, you and your ship would fall off the end of the world and be lost. For some though, that did not seem to be completely right. They had faith that there was another reality, one thought of as an impossibility by many, that the world might be round. Christopher Columbus trusted in his faith in God that there were others in the world yet to be discovered and that another reality, one that would bring prosperity, new beginnings, and a connection to a new world, existed.

The impossible became possible when Columbus (the one most noted for the discovery) discovered the Americas in his first voyage across the sea in 1492 and proved that the world was in fact, round. At that moment an inflection point occurred and for most people, their realities changed. Not all, however, believed right away and some never believed, thinking it to be a hoax to gain notoriety or fortune. The fact of that discovery changed the world and opened up a whole new reality of human existence beyond anything they had known up until then.

For Jesus and the people whom He addressed in John’s Gospel, as part of “The Bread of Life Discourse” (Jn 6:22-58), the impossible became possible. But, to the Jews, no food could give eternal life with God in heaven. Even the manna that their ancestors ate in the desert, that God provided, could only provide sustenance for their earthly bodies and not eternal life with God in heaven. It would be impossible for any food to give eternal life. Yet Jesus was telling them that His flesh is true food, and His blood is true drink (Jn 6:55). This is the bread that comes down from heaven to give eternal life.

How do we, who are here on earth, gain this eternal life? First, we believe in Jesus, that He is the Son of God, and that through faith in Him, we have a path to eternal life. Second, eternal life is thus guaranteed in the gift of His true body and true blood which He instituted at the Last Supper and gave up on the cross. The impossible became possible.

Many people in Jesus’s time (and in our time), could not accept this teaching from Him and walked away from the greatest gift of all time. Many could only see the earthly reality of eating another human being’s flesh and drinking their blood, which was a gross and appalling act. It just cannot be true. And thinking in the realm of earthly knowledge, this understanding would be true. No one wants to eat another human being. What they did not realize, as well as many today, is that Jesus is also divine, and His body and blood are divine, unlike the rest of us in our mortal bodies. His body and blood are truly His, but in a heavenly divine manner that is mysterious to our earthly understanding and senses, one that only faith can reconcile.

At the Last Supper, Christ instituted this reality of His flesh and blood as true food and true drink in the transubstantiation of bread and wine. Christ conferred on the apostles the gift of His sacrifice on the cross where He gave His body and blood for the life of the world. This sacrifice and subsequent transubstantiation of bread and wine into His body and blood, the “impossible” is brought to life and made “possible” in the holy sacrifice of the Mass handed down from Christ to the apostles and to every catholic priest since in an unbroken line of succession.

To partake in this holy sacrificial offering of Christ Himself at Mass is an enormous gift to be grateful for and cherished every day of our lives in an unending hymn of praise and thanksgiving. Why would we not want to receive this gift every day of our lives?

Through faith in Jesus, we can believe His words and know that the impossible can be possible and that we have salvation in Christ’s true food and drink from heaven, “for nothing will be impossible for God.” (Lk 1:37)

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL