SHOCKING WORDS, REMARKABLE TRUTH
One Sabbath morning, earlier on in his ministry, in the synagogue in Capernaum on the shores of the sea of Galilee, Jesus dropped a bombshell on those listening to him. After talking about the bread of life and its importance he said that if people did not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood they would not have life in themselves… “Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me and I live in them” (Jn 6,56). St John comments that many of his followers grumbled that the teaching was too hard and unacceptable and left him. As he watched them walk out of the synagogue, Jesus even asked the twelve if they wanted to quit too. Peter, speaking for them all, said “Lord, to whom shall we go, you have the words that give eternal life” (Jn 6,68).
It was a good response but it was not an answer to Jesus’ question. Peter and the others may well have wanted to leave because the language was shocking if not revolting. Talk of eating flesh and drinking blood is still revolting even these days, it has people thinking of zombies and vampires and movies that have such practices as part of the story line to increase the horror value.
Jesus was not talking about that. At the last supper he made it clear what he was talking about. On that night before he was killed, in the context of a transformed Passover meal he gave his followers what they would call the Eucharist. This group was not composed of zombies and vampires but of men and women in love with Jesus who willingly gave his life so all could come fully alive. To sustain them and keep them close to him he gave them himself in what we call “sacramental” form. Our gifts of bread and wine, through the action of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s body and blood so that we can take him into ourselves and be transformed by what we eat.
We know that the food we eat can change us for good and for ill. We want to nourish our bodies with the best food and here what we receive in Holy Communion is the best. We want our blood to be free of diseases so to have the blood of the Lord coursing through our veins has us living regenerated lives. In this way, we do live in him and he in us.
This is what today’s feast celebrates. As St Peter said “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Accepting what Jesus says and commands is not always easy. He has a way of upturning our worlds or our way of looking at the world. But the end result of being capsized is life eternal. Receive Our Lord in Holy Communion and go out with him to change your world.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Jun 19, 2015||The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ 07.06.2015||Listen||Download|