20th Sunday in Ordinary Time,Cycle B

In today’s First Reading we see Wisdom personified as a woman who invites the uninstructed to come to her banquet and receive nourishment in order to attain life and understanding. Wisdom is associated with life and knowledge. The Second Reading also encourages the Christians to live wisely, trying to understand the will of the Lord and not just seeking the immediate and irresponsible pleasures of a fleeting drunken banquet, but, rather a celebration that fills with the Spirit, a liturgical celebration of hymns to the Lord and thanksgiving to the Father through Christ.

The Second Reading aptly summarizes the discourse we’ve been considering over the last few Sundays regarding the Eucharist: instead of seeking the fleeting pleasure of wine and remaining in ignorance, Our Lord is inviting his listeners to be filled with the Spirit and to partake of the banquet of his Body and his Blood and to grow in knowledge through faith in him. If the First Reading personified Wisdom and its benefits in terms of a woman inviting to a fine meal, Our Lord today is not speaking metaphorically or symbolically, as the consternation of his listeners shows at the thought of eating his flesh. With Jesus they’re receiving an invitation from the Wisdom of God in person (see 1 Corinthians 1:24), and he is saying that he is the banquet they need for eternal life and communion with God. Through communion with him they will enjoy wisdom and will enjoy eternal life, but they must have faith in the knowledge he is trying to impart to them.

As we receive Our Lord in the Eucharist today, the Wisdom of God in person, let’s thank him for coming in person to nourish us and ask him to fill us with his Spirit so that we praise him “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.”

Readings: Proverbs 9:1–6; Psalm 34:2–7; Ephesians 5:15–20; John 6:51–58.