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.
Readings and Psalm
- Proverbs 9:1-6
Invited to dine at wisdom’s feast
- Psalm 34:9-14
Those who seek the Lord lack nothing that is good. (Ps. 34:10)
- Ephesians 5:15-20
Filled with the Spirit, sing thanks to God
- John 6:51-58
Christ the true food and drink
First Reading: Proverbs 9:1-6Wisdom 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.1Wisdom has built her house,
she has hewn her seven pillars.
2She has slaughtered her animals, she has mixed her wine,
she has also set her table.
3She has sent out her servant-girls, she calls
from the highest places in the town,
4“You that are simple, turn in here!”
To those without sense she says,
5“Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6Lay aside immaturity, and live,
and walk in the way of insight.”
Psalm: Psalm 34:9-14Those who seek the Lord lack nothing that is good. (Ps. 34:10)9Fear the Lord, you saints | of the Lord,
for those who fear the | Lord lack nothing.
10The lions are in want and | suffer hunger,
but those who seek the Lord lack nothing | that is good.
11Come, children, and lis- | ten to me;
I will teach you reverence | for the Lord.
12Who among you takes plea- | sure in life
and desires long life to en- | joy prosperity?
13Keep your | tongue from evil
and your lips from | lying words.
14Turn from evil | and do good;
seek peace | and pursue it.
Second Reading: Ephesians 5:15-20True 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.15Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel: John 6:51-58In 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.[Jesus said,] 51“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
52The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; 55for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. 56Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. 57Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. 58This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”