Just a few days ago, we enjoyed our 13th Annual Golf Classic. The day couldn’t have been any better, except for one small detail: my dog Mimo was pent-up in the rectory for almost 11 hours all by herself. I knew she wouldn’t be pleased with me when I got home so in anticipation of ‘the cold shoulder’, I brought her a rib bone from the banquet. I opened the door and while she wanted to ignore me completely, she couldn’t help catching the scent from the doggy-bag. I gave her the bone and she ran outside to a small dirt patch to enjoy her treat. Noticing how dirty it had become I grabbed it and threw it on the lawn, at which point, she ran over and started to roll all over it! She didn’t want to simply enjoy the bits on the bone, but she wanted to gnaw on it, savor it, dig deep into the treasured marrow and, when asleep, dream of the scents wafting from her coated coat!
In today’s gospel, Jesus is continuing what is known as His “bread of life discourse”. Over and over, Jesus is trying to teach His followers of the necessity to eat His flesh and drink His blood—true food and drink with everlasting value and reward. But, He did more than invite them to “eat” as we often do (even our ancestors merely “ate” the manna of the desert and still they died). Jesus invited them to “eat” His flesh, but in a manner like gnawing on it. He was inviting them—and still invites us—to gnaw on the gift of Himself, to savor His being, to gain the richness of His divinity, to live within the odor of the Lord and to take all of Himself into our very being, our very lives.
As members of His mystical body—the Church—we are invited to gnaw on the gift of the Bread of Life, to taste and see the goodness of the Lord as His own life blends and co-mingles with ours. Amen.