In today’s gospel, we read from John 6 known as the Bread of Life discourse. And there is much that can be said about this central chapter of John’s gospel that speaks to John’s Eucharistic understanding and teaching. And today I have no doubt that there will be some excellent commentaries on this reading. I have also written about this section of Chapter 6 that you can read here.But the idea of the Word made flesh is not introduced here in this day’s gospel. It is a central idea and revelation of the entire gospel: In the beginning was the Word…what came to be through him was life…and the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:1, 3b-4, 14). These are the powerful Johannine words to describe the Incarnation, the taking on of our humanity by the second person of the Trinity. The Incarnation is not simply the moment of conception, the moment of birth, but rather it is the entirety of what it means to live the fullness of life among us. In other words, the Incarnation is the entire life, passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus.
What plays out in today’s gospel continues to point to “what came to be through him was life.” Now it refers to far more than the creation story. If points to eternal life:
“Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood,
you do not have life within you.
Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood
has eternal life,
and I will raise him on the last day.”
A life that is only made possible at the cost of his own life. At the cost of his passion, death and Resurrection.