Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you… For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him.”John 6:53, 55-56
Many years ago, I was in between jobs and the church closest to my house was having morning classes on the Eucharist, chapter 6 in the gospel of John. I had nothing better to do and thought it might be beneficial to attend Mass and these sessions, especially if I wanted the grace of God to help me find a job. I was an infant in my spiritual growth at the time, newly married and new to Texas. I didn’t attend church regularly. I didn’t read the Word of God often and I only prayed when I needed something. Surely if I attended Mass and learned something, God would help me find a job.
I’m not sure it helped me find a job but it did change my view of my Catholic faith. I remember the guy who was teaching the sessions explaining with the words from chapter 6 in John’s gospel that the Eucharist was not a symbolic act. It was through these very words Jesus spoke that opened my eyes to this realization. In John 6:51, Jesus tells us very explicitly “this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”
That little word “IS” in Jesus’ statement is so important here. He’s very specific that this bread IS his flesh, his body. In verse 55, he says his flesh is true food and true drink. Another connection to this very truth. His flesh, his body IS TRUE food and drink that we consume.
I think it’s very important to understand that “we live by every WORD that comes from the mouth of the Lord. (Deuteronomy 8:3)”. Since the Bible is inspired by God, it is our compass, our road map to living in truth and righteousness.
Why wouldn’t we believe these words Jesus tells us about himself, that he is fully present in the Holy Eucharist, bread and wine, fruit of the vine?
I can’t say that after this I went to church regularly, but I know it is what eventually brought me back to the church. In the last 7 years of my life, the Eucharist has been my strength. When I consume it, life fills me as I return to my pew. Often when I’m praying in thanksgiving tears stream down my face. I’ve spent many hours in prayer and silence in front of the Blessed Sacrament angry with God and others, feeling unloved, anxious, and wounded. The beauty of these meetings of Adoration was that I never left with those feelings. Peace, love and mercy consumed me through an unsurmountable love that was present. Jesus in the Eucharist is my safe haven, my peace and what brings me life.
How does Jesus fill you with life? Is it through his flesh and blood, the true food and drink? I invite you to take some time at the end of the day or the end of the week to review where Jesus has brought you life. Soak in that moment and feel the peace, love and mercy consuming you.