Wisdom prepares a feast, sets her table, and invites all to come and eat her bread and drink her wine. The first chapter of John’s gospel owes much to the biblical tradition that imagined Wisdom as existing before anything was created and having a role in the work of creation. Christ, the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:24), today invites us to eat his flesh and drink his blood. John’s gospel includes no account of the institution of the Lord’s supper, but here we can’t help hearing Jesus’ words as an invitation to the meal of bread and wine we share.
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The Lessons: (Link to the Readings)
First Reading: Proverbs 9:1-6
Wisdom is portrayed as a woman who invites people to partake of her banquet. Just as ordinary food is necessary for physical life, Wisdom’s food—insight and understanding—is necessary for fullness of life with God. Partaking of Wisdom’s banquet is the way to life.
Psalm: Psalm 34:9-14
Those who seek the Lord lack nothing that is good. (Ps. 34:10)
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:15-20
True wisdom integrates our new reality in Christ with our Christian fellowship and daily conduct. Because we are filled with the Spirit, Christians regularly rejoice together, give thanks to God for one another, and care for one another. In this way we revere our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: John 6:51-58
In John’s gospel, the feeding of the five thousand leads to extended teaching in which Jesus identifies himself as the true “bread of life.” Finally, in these verses, he makes a connection that would not be understood until after his death, in light of the church’s celebration of holy communion.
Ever-loving God, your Son gives himself as living bread for the life of the world. Fill us with such a knowledge of his presence that we may be strengthened and sustained by his risen life to serve you continually, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen.