“Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ “( Jn 6:52). And “on hearing it, many of his disciples said, ‘This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?’ ” (Jn 6:60)

Through the centuries the Church has consistently refused to mitigate the shock contained in the words of the Lord at Capernaum. Her pedagogy is like her Master’s. Recognize in all its fullness what it is you are expected to believe and pray that the Father will lead you to accept. Let him accept it who can. Dissent to the Church’s teaching is not only a phenomenon of the twentieth century; it has always existed. And this dissent has touched upon not merely secondary issues but frequently upon those most central to the Catholic understanding of Jesus’ message. None more so than the Eucharist. Many have not been able to accept the Mystery as the Church meditated upon it and expounded it more adequately, but their very unwillingness or inability has been the occasion used by the Spirit to deepen the Church’s appreciation for what Jesus meant.

The Hidden Manna – James T. O’Connor

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