At the center of the Catholic faith is its’ belief in the Eucharist. Jesus Himself said:
“I am the bread of life, whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6, 35).
In John 6.53 He states,
“Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day, for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink.”
The church has always interpreted this statement to be literally true. How is this possible? All things are possible with God!!
In the Old Testament, God rained down manna from the sky to feed the Israelites in the desert for forty years. The Eucharist is modern day manna. Our faith is nourished and kept alive by living bread… the body and blood of Jesus Christ. St. Paul teaches us that the church is the Body of Christ. In I Corinthians 12-13 St. Paul states:
“For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body-Jews or Greeks, slaves or free-and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”
The Saints in the early church all professed a belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Justyn Martyr (100-165) was one of the first to try to explain this belief.
Next Sunday, we celebrate Corpus Christi (The Body of Christ). It is important for us to reflect on how Jesus came to nourish us, not only by scripture but by being true food for us.
Through God all things are possible. When we read the bread of life discourse (John 6), we need to ask ourselves, do we truly believe what Jesus tells us, or like the disciples who turn away do we pick and choose the teachings of Jesus we want to believe.
To quote St. Augustine ((354-430),
“If you believe what you like in the gospel, and reject what you don’t like, it’s not the gospel you believe, but yourself.”
To be true disciples of Jesus, we must get to know Him, to love Him and let ourselves be fed by Him.