TO WHOM WOULD WE GO

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Opening Prayer

Saviour, and can it be
That Thou shouldst dwell with me?
From Thy high and lofty throne,
Throne of everlasting bliss,
Will Thy majesty stoop down
To so mean an house as this?

I am not worthy, Lord,
So foul, so self-abhorr’d,
Thee, my God, to entertain
In this poor polluted heart:
I am a frail and sinful man,
All my nature cries, Depart!

Yet come, Thou heavenly Guest,
And purify my breast;
Come, Thou great and glorious King,
While before Thy cross I bow,
With Thyself salvation bring,
Cleanse the house by entering now.

—Charles and John Wesley, Hymns on the Lord’s Supper #43

TEXT

John 6:52-71 NET

Then the Jews who were hostile to Jesus began to argue with one another, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

Jesus said to them, “I tell you the solemn truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. The one who eats my flesh and drinks my blood resides in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so the one who consumes me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the bread your ancestors ate, but then later died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”

Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. Then many of his disciples, when they heard these things, said, “This is a difficult saying! Who can understand it?”

When Jesus was aware that his disciples were complaining about this, he said to them, “Does this cause you to be offended? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascending where he was before? The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature is of no help! The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus had already known from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) So Jesus added, “Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come.”

After this many of his disciples quit following him and did not accompany him any longer. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You don’t want to go away too, do you?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God!”

Jesus replied, “Didn’t I choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is the devil?” (Now he said this about Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for Judas, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.)

Read

You were led to the holy pool of Divine Baptism, as Christ was carried from the Cross to the Sepulcher…and each of you were asked whether he believed in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…you died and were born; and the water of salvation was at once your grave and your mother…O strange and inconceivable thing! We did not really die; we were not really buried; we were not really crucified and raised again, but our imitation was only figurative, while our salvation is in reality. Christ was actually crucified, and actually buried, and truly rose…Christ received the nails in His undefiled hands and feet, and endured anguish; while to me without suffering or toil, by the fellowship of His pain he vouchsafes salvation…

Therefore with fullest assurance, let us partake as of the Body and Blood of Christ: for in the figure of Bread is given to you His Body, and in the figure of Wine His Blood; that you, by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, might be made of the same body and the same blood with Him. For thus we come to bear Christ in us…thus it is that, according to the blessed Peter, we become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4)…Let faith establish you.

— St. Cyril of Jerusalem. Lectures on the Sacraments.

Prayer of Response

Maranatha!! Come Lord Jesus! Even as we long for your return we thank you for giving us the Holy Eucharist, our heavenly food which sustains us. Even as our ‘nature cried depart’ fill us with your Spirit and lead us into your holy presence that we may truly ‘be partakers of the divine nature.’ Amen.

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