12th August 2018

John 6: 41-51

 

In the Gospel (John 6: 41-51) Jesus makes a categorical claim: “I am the living Bread come down from heaven.” This claim constituted an obstacle to the Jews, who were listening to Jesus. They held tenaciously to their knowledge of the human origins of Jesus: “Surely this is the son of Joseph. We know his father and mother. How can he say ‘I have come down from heaven?’” They were merely judging Jesus from the physical human point of view. And so were scandalised that someone they knew so well could make such claims. Sometimes knowledge can become an obstacle. When knowledge claims to be self-sufficient, not open to other opinions and not ready to learn more, such knowledge can be dangerous and can easily slip to the level of pride and self-delusion. True knowledge is humble, flexible – that is, open to better opinions and to something new. The Jews were buried in their primordial knowledge of Jesus and so could not realise who was in their midst. That is why they listened without learning. They became victims of their familiarity with the family of Jesus. What would have been an advantage became a disadvantage because they would not open and let in the truth. “Familiarity breeds contempt” is a well-known saying that we have not been able to completely extricate our minds from. Therefore, we are also guilty. How often do we concede to others’ opinions even when they are better? How often do we judge people from mere externals or accidents of birth, race, social standings, or even, religion? The value of an individual is more than the accidents of his origin. Man is not a product of his origin but something deeper and so much more.