A reflection on this Sunday’s Mass by Sr Kym Harris osb and downloaded from http://www.prayasyoucan.com.au
Is Jesus trying to mess with these people’s heads? Yes. Over the past Sundays we have heard him outrage the crowd with his demand that, if they want eternal life, they have to eat his flesh and drink his blood. They revolt at the cannibalistic overtones of this and the implied assertion of being able to offer divine life. Now he takes both to different levels. In predicting his ascension he asserts a union with God. But he then states that the ‘flesh’ has nothing to offer. Well, what of his flesh that he was offering for eternal life? It doesn’t make sense.
St Thomas Aquinas and the best of the Christian theological tradition have held that what we can say and know about God is always more unlike God than like God. The best of Christian mystical tradition has held that we have to go through a Dark Night of the Spirit, a Cloud of Unknowing to recognise the presence of God in our lives. At Bath Abbey, there is a remarkable stature, Christ ascending. https://revdocgeek.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/ascension-bath-abbey.jpg . Notice how the burial bands around Christ are ripped asunder and fall away at his ascending. If Christ is to ascend in our lives, if we are to surrender to the mystery as Peter, we must be prepared to have our heads messed with, to have our images and ideas on God challenged, to move beyond a faith that is safe and predictable into the wild places of the Spirit.