August 15, 2009


20th Sunday - B
John 6:51-58

Eat My Flesh

In Greek, just like many other languages, there are different verbs used to describe the same activity, each with its own nuances. Similarly, there are different verbs that can be used for "to eat."

However, there are only two places in John's gospel where the verb trogein is used, here in 6:54,56,57,58 and 13:18, when Jesus told the disciples at the last supper, "The one who ate my bread has lifted the heels against me." (1)

Trogein literally means to chew, to munch, to crunch with the teeth. And here, it is used intentionally to replace a more polite verb for to eat. (2)

Obviously, Jesus is not speaking in symbolic language. He really means "my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink," and "whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life."

(1) Francis J. Moloney, SDB., The Gospel of John. Sacra Pagina Series (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1998), p. 224.
(2) Ibid., p. 221.

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