St. John’s Contemplative Gospel – Bread Of Heaven (Chapter 6)

St. John was a contemplative.

The bread of life is he which cometh down from heaven.

To regularly eat of the Eucharist is to savour the ongoing mystery of the presence of God in the incarnation of Christ. It is astounding that so many people who consider themselves biblical literalists read John 6:32 – 35 analogically. These are people who simply wolf down their food. But the body of Christ is meant to be slowly partaken; life sucked from the marrow. We are meant to live by him not only in faith, but by this mystery of Eucharistic communion.

I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eat of this bread, they shall live forever.

The present eating of this food has eternal impact.

As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eatheth me, even they shall live by me.

…that Christ lives in us when we eat his body, and so we mysteriously live in him.

None of these words are in any ways comprehensible on face value…and yet they are, but only if they are slowly chewed on. They are a theology that emerges from musing on love. The love of God for people, and the response of love that they elicit from us. There is great delight in sharing food with others. This is the very essence of both contemplation and a sacrament, which are one and the same, which in the traditional words of St. Augustine is an outward sign of an inward grace.