John 4:1-45 The original twelve tribes of Israel that settled in Canaan eventually divided themselves into a SOUTHERN KINGDOM, consisting mainly of two tribes based in Jerusalem, and a NORTHERN KINGDOM, which consisted primarily of the other ten tribes and was based in Samaria. In the eight century BC, Assyrians conquered the Northern Kingdom, exiling a portion of the tribes and assimilating through intermarriage many of those who were allowed to stay. The Southern Kingdom likewise suffered a partial exile at the hands of the Babylonians a century or two later. During this time, certain divergent beliefs and practices developed between the two groups, none more contentious than the site of the true Temple. Samaritans built a temple on Mount Gerizim, believing it was the site that God had intended as the palace of central worship rather than Jerusalem. This temple was destroyed in the second century BC by the Jewish king. The Samaritans only recognized Pentateuch as their sacred writings and so were largely unfamiliar with the Wisdom literature and the writings of the prophets. The Samaritans themselves preferred to be called Israelites and believed they were the true heir to Moses. Jews and Samaritans in Christ’s time openly despised and were often hostile to one another.
Ch 4:4-6 He had to pass through Samaria: At the time of Christ, there were two main routes from Judea to Galilee: one that followed the Jordan River and a shorter route that went through Samaria. Because Jews considered the Samaritans to be unclean, they would normally take the longer route.
Wearied: Christ, who was human in every way BUT SIN, experienced the human conditions of fatigue, hunger, and thirst. (CCC 544-545)
Ch 4:7-9 This encounter has several levels of significance. Jews would not speak to Samaritans, who were considered heretics and sinners. A Jewish man, especially a rabbi, would never talk to a woman in public, all the more if the woman were a Samaritan. In a sense, the impurity of the Samaritans would extend even to the water from a Samaritan well. (CCC 579)
Ch 4:10-14 You would have asked...living water: Christ was referring to the life-giving “water” of the Holy Spirit and the water of Baptism, which would bestow a true happiness. Among the “wellsprings” of prayer where we can “draw water” are the Eucharist, Scripture, and the liturgy, as well as the practice of the theological virtues (POP QUIZ!! What are the theological virtues? Answer in the comment section of the Facebook Group Post 😁)
(CCC 694, 728, 1137, 2560-2561, 2652-2658)
Ch 4:18 Five husbands: The woman’s life story serves as an apt allegory for Samaritan history. During the years of the Assyrian conquest, five foreign tribes intermingled with the Israelites of the former Northern Kingdom, and each introduced to the region its own deity, or Baal, which means “lord” or “husband.” Recall, too, that three Old Testament patriarchs-Isaac, Jacob, and Moses-each first met their future wives at a well (cf. Gn 24:10-20; 29:10-20; Ex 2:15-21). Allegorically, Christ could be seen as encouraging the Samaritans to repent of their sins and inviting them to commit themselves to him, the Bridegroom and One True God. (CCC 401, 710)
Ch 4:19-20 I perceive that you are a prophet: Because of his divine nature, Christ can read the human heart. He made a great impression on this woman, as Samaritans recognized only Moses as a prophet.
Our fathers worshipped on this mountain: Samaritans believed that Mt. Gerizim was the site where Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac and where Joshua was told to build an altar to make peace offerings to God. (CCC 436)
Ch 4:21-26 You worship...what we know: The Jews had greater knowledge than the Samaritans about the coming Messiah because they had the testimony of the prophets and the inspired wisdom literature.
Neither on this mountain...in Jerusalem: A subtle reference to the coming destruction of Jerusalem. In the New Covenant, worship would be bound neither to Mr. Gerizim nor to Jerusalem but to the Messiah as the new and living Temple of God that would know no end.
From the Jews: Even in the Pentateuch, the Messiah was said to be from the line of David, who himself was from the Tribe of Judah. (CCC 439, 469, 528, 586, 728, 1179)
Ch 4:26 Nowhere else in the Gospels was Jesus more explicit about his identity as the Messiah.
Ch 4:28 Left her water jar: Like the first Apostles who left their fishing boats to follow Christ, the woman left behind her water jar to proclaim the Gospel she had heard. This detail corroborates the need to renounce all things to witness effectively to the truth of the Gospel. (CCC 2544)
Ch 4:34 My food is to do...his work: Christ embraced his Father’s will and plan of salvation and was nourished and strengthened by it. (CCC 606, 2611, 2824)
Ch 4:42 Savior of the world: Note how the Samaritan woman’s regard for Christ grew until it finally culminated in a moving conversion. In a sense, her knowledge of him deepened as she perceived him in the following way: a prophet (cf. Jn 4:19), a Messiah (cf. Jn 4:29), and a Savior. (CCC 2812)
Ch 4:46-54 The official was likely a pagan member of Herod’s court, yet even his faith in Christ’s Word was sufficient for the healing of his son to take place. (CCC 2616)
Ch 5:1-18 The cure of the paralytic shows clearly how Christ has absolute authority over the Sabbath and power over sickness and sin. By curing the man, Jesus showed he acted with the power from God, and, therefore, he exercised the same power of forgiving sins. (CCC 583, 589, 594)
Ch 5:10-13 The Pharisees were a Jewish sect that interpreted the Law strictly. Among other things, they taught that Jews were not permitted to perform any work at all on the Sabbath-even to carry out a pallet, as this healed paralytic did on Christ’s instruction, or to provide medical attention, except for someone in danger of death. (CCC 575)
Ch 5:14 Although some sins can take a toll on an individual’s health and well-being, it is not a necessary or exclusive cause of poor health or injury. In fact, Christ taught by word and example that offering our suffering in union with the Cross is a means to holiness. (CCC 1488, 1502, 1505)
Ch 5:17-18 My Father is working still, and I am working: The Sabbath observance of rest was seen as following the example of God, whom Scripture tells us had rested on the seventh day of creation. As St. Thomas Aquinas would explain, to say God rested is not to say he was completely INACTIVE. “It is true that he rested on the Sabbath from his work of creating new creatures, but he is always continually at work maintaining them in existence” (Super Evangelium Ionnis, ad loc.).
Christ here asserted that to imitate God on the Sabbath was to continue to do good works. The statement also asserts his divinity which is why the enemies of Christ charged him both with breaking the Sabbath and with blasphemy. (CCC 574, 589, 594)
Ch 5:19-29 Christ spoke of his intimate relationship with the Father, who gave him authority to pronounce judgement upon both the living and the dead. His identifying with the Father as an equal caused doubt and resentment in some. The Son follows the Father’s will PERFECTLY, so to reject the Son is to reject the Father who sent him. The price of that rejection is the willful loss of eternal life. (CCC 635, 679, 998, 1470)
Ch 5:19 Christ’s will was so perfectly aligned with the will of the Father that he fulfilled it perfectly. In turn, Christ invited his disciples to model themselves after him and carry out his will; without him, they were powerless. (CC 859)
Ch 5:28-29 Through the use of reason and the natural law inscribed in our hearts, we can use our will, aided by God’s grace, to choose what is good and reject what is evil. This is our fundamental moral obligation. The urgings of a well-formed conscience will guide us in seeking God’s will and leading a moral life. At the Last Judgement, the dead will rise and everyone will receive either eternal life or eternal death according to his or her works. (CCC 998, 1038, 1706, 1713, 1996-2005)
Ch 5:30-40 Jewish Law required the testimony of at least two witnesses for an allegation to be considered valid. To show that he did not make claims about himself without credible support, Christ pointed out that he had the authority of Moses. His miracles as well as innumerable references to him in Sacred Scripture gave testimony to his divinity.
I seek not...who sent me: Christ always did the will of the Father, which is a model for our own proper disposition. (CCC 548, 582, 719, 2824)
Ch 5:41-47 Because he knows the human heart, Jesus knew why some had failed to accept him as the Messiah and the Son of God. Unless there is the good will to know and live by the truth, Christ and his message will not be accepted. (CCC 131-132, 702)
Ch 6:1-15 This chapter is FOUNDATIONAL for the THEOLOGY OF THE EUCHARIST. In the Synoptic Gospels (POP QUIZ!! What are the Synoptic Gospels? Answer in the comment section of the Facebook Post 😁), the link between the multiplication of the loaves and the Eucharist can be reasonably presumed. In John that link becomes explicit and serves as a precursor to the institution of the Eucharist. In this case, there was a trust in Christ along with the generosity of giving up the five loaves and two fishes. The perennial lesson of almost all of Christ’s miracles involves the interplay between an ACT OF FAITH consisting of total self-giving and the exercise of DIVINE POWER. (CCC 549, 1338)
Ch 6:4 The timing of this miracle around Passover, and the fact that John mentions it here, implies a connection between the Jewish feast and its ultimate fulfillment and perfection in the institution of the Eucharist, THE NEW PASSOVER. (CCC 1335)
Ch 6:11 The formula expressed here is very close to the description in the Synoptic Gospels of the actions of Christ at the Last Supper, where he instituted the Eucharist (cf. Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22; Lk 22:19).
Given thanks: This term in Greek is eucharisteas, whence “Eucharist.” (CCC 1360)
Ch 6:15 Jesus withdrew: The people acclaimed Christ for his miracle, but they sought to make him a temporal king who would provide for their material needs, show military might, and liberate the Jews from Roman rule. Christ left the scene before this act could take place, for although he is a king, his kingdom IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. (CCC 439, 559)
Ch 6:16-21 This anecdote reveals that while the disciples had faith in Christ, their faith needed the assistance of the Holy Spirit in order to reach full maturity. Their passage across the stormy seas recalls the Exodus event, when Moses led the Israelites through the parting of the Red Sea. This event allegorically depicts the Church journeying through history as she withstands the fierce winds of persecution and sin. Because Christ is ALWAYS AT OUR SIDE, fear should NEVER overcome us in the face of hardship. (CCC 162)
Ch 6:20 It is I: The phrase Christ used here can also be translated “I AM,” which is reminiscent of the name of God “I AM WHO I AM” given to Moses. It is thus another statement of his divinity. (CCC 213)
Ch 6:22-34 The crowds followed Christ to Capernaum, where he taught them in the synagogue about the real meaning of the miracle of the loaves. They sought a sign akin to that of the manna given in the desert to the Israelites as they sojourned through the desert to the Promised Land. That manna, though it came from Heaven, nourished only the body. Christ gives his very self as the Bread of Life that nourishes THE SOUL. (CCC 423, 1094-1096, 1338)
Ch 6:27 Set his seal: A symbol very close to that of ANOINTING (TYPOLOGY!!), indicating a permanent effect. The indelible “mark” or “character” that the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Holy Orders leave on the recipient is called a “seal.” The seal of the Holy Spirit marks us for Christ, as belonging to him, being strengthened by him, and being committed to his service. This statement refers to the future coming of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 698, 728, 1296)
Ch 6:26-71 This sermon by Christ is called the “Bread of Life discourse.” (And it’s my favorite passage in the entire Bible 🤓) Building upon the miracles of the multiplication of loaves, he revealed that he is the Bread of Life who has come from Heaven to nourish us in faith, hope, and love, whereby we share more profoundly in the life of Christ. Holiness and effective witness of the Gospel requires an ardent love of and frequent reception of the Eucharist. (CCC 2835, 2837)
Ch 6:46 Christ is the only person who can reveal God because he is the only one who truly knows him. The Incarnation of the Son of God brought a Divine Revelation to its zenith since Christ is God made visible in his humanity. (CCC 151, 473)
Ch 6:51 Bread which I shall give: The use of the future tense by Christ points to the Redemption of the Cross and the institution of the Eucharist.
For the life of the world: Christ, through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection, offers redemption for all of humanity. Moreover, the holiness affected by the Eucharist brings life to the world. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray “Give us this day our daily bread,” a reference not only to our temporal needs but more specifically to the EUCHARIST ITSELF. (CCC 728, 1355, 1406-1407, 2837)
Ch 6:52-59 Many in the crowd, hearing Christ speak of EATING HIS FLESH, took his words as an invitation to CANNIBALISM. Christ meant what he said about heating his Flesh and drinking his Blood BUT IN A SACRAMENTAL WAY. In the Eucharist, which he would institute at the Last Supper, bread and wine would be changed into his Body and Blood for the spiritual nourishment of the faithful. By instituting the priesthood, Christ empowered his Apostles and their successors to do the same. In this discourse, he taught about his own Real Presence in the Eucharist.
Transubstantiation is the word the Church uses to describe the change that takes place when the priest consecrates the bread and wine at Mass, one in which the substance of bread and wine changes into Christ’s Body and Blood but the accidents, or appearances, do not. The life that the Eucharist imparts pertains to supernatural life, which binds us ever closer to Christ and prepares us for eternity in Heaven. (CCC 787, 1382-1384, 1391-1392, 1406, 1509)
Ch 6:60-71 The crowd-and even some of Christ’s disciples-found his teaching too difficult to accept and decided to leave his company in what would seem to be the greatest defection of followers during his public life. It was Simon Peter who spoke for the disciples in proclaiming their fidelity to Christ and their belief in his identity as the “Holy One of God,” even if they did not yet fully understand his teaching. In doing so, he made the fundamental statement for belief in Christ: only he has the words of eternal life. (CCC 438-440, 1336)
Ch 6:63 Spirit...flesh: Human reason can do many things, but it cannot penetrate and embrace God’s revelation if FAITH IS LACKING. The intervention of the Holy Spirit is necessary in order to accept the mysteries of faith, and it is the same Holy Spirit who makes our prayer fruitful. (CCC 1769, 2766)
Ch 6:66 Note how Christ, here and throughout the discourse, DID NOT ATTEMPT TO REPHRASE HIS WORDS in order to clear up any misunderstanding. This indicates that he was NOT SPEAKING METAPHORICALLY; HE MEANT WHAT HE SAID about his Body and Blood being REAL FOOD AND DRINK. He would be likewise UNEQUIVOCAL when he instituted the Sacrament of the Eucharist at the Last Supper. (CCC 1339)
How many Man oh Man’s are we going to get today? 😉
Today’s reading has truly changed Fr. Mike’s Life
It’s changed MY life too
There is so much to unpack
John Ch 6 is REMARKABLE
The feeding of the 5,000 is INCREDIBLE
Jesus walking on water of the Sea of Galilee is AMAZING
Then we get to where all these 5,000 people are wondering, “Who is Jesus?”
Jesus sees them coming and basically says, “You’re not here because you believe in me. You are here because you got fed and you want more food.
That’s all that it is. My feeding you yesterday with 5 loaves and 2 fish DID NOT CONVINCE YOU to believe in me. Because if you believe in me, here is what you are going to do. You are going to realize that not only am I the one sent by the Father, but also, if you want to have life, here’s what you need to do. You have to recognize that I am the true bread that came down from Heaven.”
Of course, the people murmur and talk trash
But Jesus MAKES IT VERY CLEAR
John 6:51 says, “I am the living bread which came down from Heaven.”
Remember Manna (even better, remember BAKLAVA??😋)
Manna was awesome
But Jesus continues, “If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. And the bread which I shall give for the life of the world IS MY FLESH.”
THIS IS REMARKABLE
Not only is Jesus saying that he’s the NEW BREAD came down from Heaven
Jesus is also making a connection between what we read yesterday in Day 99
Remember that guy John the Baptist?
Hairy dude, ate bugs, probably had a walking stick, and dressed in a suit of camel hair?
Yeah that dude said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”
What happened when you ate the FLESH OF THE LAMB if you were an Israelite?
You were given FREEDOM AND LIFE
You had to eat the flesh of the lamb, be marked with the blood of the lamb, and you were given FREEDOM AND LIFE
Jesus is saying SO CLEARLY HERE that if you eat the BREAD OF HEAVEN, which is JESUS’ FLESH, what will you have?
FREEDOM AND LIFE
Many people think Jesus is being SYMBOLIC
Many people think Jesus is being FIGURATIVE when he speaks about his flesh
(Apparently 70% of Catholics believe Jesus is being symbolic or figurative in his speech 😡☹️)
Read John 6:52
“The Jews then disputed among themselves saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’”
It does not sound like the Jews are taking Jesus FIGURATIVELY
THEY ARE TAKING JESUS LITERALLY
If Jesus wanted to correct them HE DOES NOT
Jesus REITERATES FIVE TIMES that you must EAT MY FLESH AND DRINK MY BLOOD
Jesus goes on to say, “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. And if you don’t eat my flesh and drink my blood, you have NO LIFE IN YOU.”
JESUS REITERATES 5 TIMES
When the Jews take him seriously, Jesus CONFIRMS AT LEAST 5 TIMES that YUP HE MEANS IT, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT HE IS SAYING
The Jews take offense to this
NOW READ JOHN 6:66 (by the way, this is the ONLY TIME the “number of the beast” referred to in Revelation 13 aka 666 is seen in the New Testament in a chapter and verse combination 🤔🤔🤔)
“As a result of this, many of his disciples drew back and no longer walked with him.”
This is the TEACHING ON THE EUCHARIST
What happens at Mass?
The bread and wine LITERALLY BECOME the BODY AND BLOOD SOUL AND DIVINITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST
We didn’t just MAKE THIS UP RECENTLY
We say this because THAT’S WHAT HE SAID!!!!
In fact, at the Last Supper, Jesus DOES NOT SAY “This is LIKE my body.”
Jesus DOES NOT SAY “This is LIKE my blood.”
Jesus DOES NOT SAY “This is a SYMBOL of my blood.”
Jesus DOES NOT SAY “This is a SYMBOL of my body.”
Jesus SAYS, “This IS my BODY”
Jesus SAYS, “This IS my BLOOD”
Jesus SAYS, “DO THIS”
All the time we spent in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, where it was SO IMPORTANT that we get the WORSHIP OF GOD CORRECT, in the New Covenant Jesus MAKES IT ABSOLUTELY UNMISTAKABLY UNDENIABLY CLEAR
HOW HE WANTS TO BE WORSHIPPED
“Take this, all of you, and eat of it. For this IS MY BODY. DO THIS in memory of me.”
“Take this cup, all of you, and drink of it. For this is the chalice OF MY BLOOD, the blood OF THE NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT. Drink of it in memory of me for the FORGIVENESS OF SINS.”
JESUS MAKES IT ABSOLUTELY CLEAR
Many of his followers TURNED AWAY
This is the ONLY TIME in the ENTIRE GOSPEL where disciples of Jesus leave him OVER A TEACHING HE OFFERS
There are people who leave him out of fear, shame, embarrassment, or greed
BUT THIS IS THE ONLY TIME SOMEONE LEFT JESUS OVER SOMETHING HE TAUGHT
What was that teaching about?
That at the Mass, what we have is TRULY Jesus’ Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
THE STAKES ARE HIGH
Hundreds maybe even THOUSANDS of disciples walk away from Jesus
Jesus then turns to the APOSTLES and doesn’t say “Yo stay here stay here I was just kidding. Don’t go anywhere”
Jesus asks the APOSTLES, “Are you also going to go? Will you go away as well?”
Jesus is basically saying, “Everyone can leave me. I am NOT changing this teaching.”
We CANNOT CHANGE THE TEACHING
The Eucharist REALLY IS JESUS’ BODY, BLOOD, SOUL, AND DIVINITY
Simon Peter’s answer says SO MUCH
Peter does not act like he understands
Peter did not come up with the term TRANSUBSTANTIATION (that came later 🤓)
Peter looks at Jesus and says, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”
Basically “I have no idea what you just said. BUT I TRUST IN YOU.”
This is the BIG CHALLENGE FOR ALL OF US
Jesus has given HIMSELF to US in the EUCHARIST
THAT IS HOW JESUS WANTS TO BE WORSHIPPED
If you DON’T WANT THAT, then YOU DON’T WANT JESUS
If you DON’T WANT THAT, then YOU DON’T WANT JESUS
If you DON’T WANT THAT, then YOU DON’T WANT JESUS
Fr. Mike and a friend walked though John Ch 6 and the friend said, “sure it’s a legitimate interpretation.”
Someone might say “wait a second. Jesus says the spirit gives life and the flesh is of no avail.”
That’s not Jesus saying THE FLESH DOESN’T MEAN ANYTHING
Because Jesus LITERALLY JUST SAID, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.”
In THIS case, Jesus was referring to flesh in terms of FALLEN HUMAN NATURE
So this lady said, “I guess that’s ONE interpretation. I can see how you believe that.”
So Fr. Mike said, “Yes, that is ONE interpretation but keep this in mind:
(I’m going to increase the font size for this one because this is pretty dang important….oh and I’m going to CENTER IT to make sure YOU GET THIS POINT)
For 1500 years, EVERY CHRISTIAN believed that ONE interpretation.
100% of CHRISTIANS for the first 1500 YEARS of CHRISTIANITY all BELIEVED THIS INTERPRETATION.
If this interpretation is WRONG, then that means that ALL CATHOLICS WORSHIP A PIECE OF BREAD.
That also means that for the FIRST 1500 YEARS, EVERY SINGLE CHRISTIAN WAS GUILTY OF IDOLATRY IN THE MOST HORRIBLE DEGREE
Remember what happened in the Golden Calf episode?
Moses is on Mt. Sinai and people turned away to make a golden calf
Do you remember HOW QUICKLY God put a stop to that?
GOD STOPPED THAT IMMEDIATELY
Do we REALLY BELIEVE that if the Eucharist REALLY IS NOT JESUS, that God ALLOWED 100% of CHRISTIANS to WORSHIP BREAD and WORSHIP WINE as if it was ACTUALLY HIM????
GOD WOULD NEVER TOLERATE THAT KIND OF THING
We are left with THIS IS THE ONE INTERPRETATION
100% of CHRISTIANS for 1500 YEARS BELIEVED IN THE EUCHARIST
100% of CHRISTIANS for 1500 YEARS BELIEVED THE BREAD AND WINE TRANSFORMED INTO JESUS’ BODY AND BLOOD
Jesus is present IN EVERY TABERNACLE in EVERY CATHOLIC CHURCH THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE WORLD
If you have trouble with THE ONE INTERPRETATION then Fr. Mike invites you to go to a Catholic Church today, kneel down in front of the Tabernacle, that Holy Place where the Body and Blood of Christ are, and give Jesus your HEART
Hear Jesus ask you, “Will you walk away as well?”
Give the answer that Peter gave, “Lord I don’t have anywhere else to go. You have the words of Eternal Life. We have all believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Yes, it is a big teaching
Yes, it may be a big pill to swallow
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
Whether you are Catholic or not, THIS IS THE TRUTH that for 1500 YEARS OF CHRISTIANITY, 100% OF CHRISTIANS BELIEVED IN THE EUCHARIST
Maybe, just maybe, Jesus is asking YOU to put YOUR FAITH IN HIS WORD EVEN MORE TODAY!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. Man, Lord God, I just thank you so much. Thank you so much, God for the gift of calling the Samaritan woman, that she can have hope in her life. Thank you so much, Father, for the gift of revealing your love and who you are. You have the authority to tell a paralyzed person, someone who had suffered for 38 years, to rise and walk. Lord God, thank you so much for revealing that you are equal to The Father and yet, you have the humility of only doing what the Father asks. And Jesus, thank you so much for the gift of yourself in the Eucharist. It’s a gift that we cannot fathom and we can never thank you for enough. Receive our thanks, Lord God, today and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”