Jesus is a strange figure. No, really, He is. Let's take a look at the men in history who have brought change to religion. Siddhartha Gautama and Buddhism. Mohammad and Islam. Jesus and Christianity.
What would Siddhartha say? "I have found a way, and I would like to show you how to follow it." What would Mohammad say? "I have a revelation from Allah and I want to share it with you, to show you the way." What does Jesus say? "I AM the way. I AM the truth. I AM the life."
Christ is whom we feed on, and we find our binding with other Catholics. We are the mystical body of Christ.
Not Just a Symbol.
Jews saw blood as belonging to God and animistic to consume certain meats, as they were unclean. And here comes Jesus, saying "Eat my flesh! Drink my blood!" They couldn't understand, it was so coarse of language and vile in their religion.
Jesus is speaking to a large crowd of His followers, and all of the sudden, at the mention of drinking His blood and eating His body, there starts to be murmuring and questioning. If I was talking to a crowd, and I said something that no one liked, to gain back the crowd, I would start back-tracking and editing what I had said to keep the crowd on my side.
When Jesus heard the unrest, He did edit. But not in the way we would think. "Amen, Amen, I say to you. Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, you do not have life within you."
And interesting point made by Father Barron: We have lost a lot in the translation of the Bible from Greek to English. In Greek, the word Phago means "to eat." Yet instead of using the word "Phago," Christ says "Trogo," to gnaw on or chew like an animal eats. When His followers begin to question the verb usage and language, Christ doesn't backtrack and say, "Whoa guys, I'm just talking about a symbol here." No! He continues talking and uses even more physical language to mean really eating His body.
If the Eucharist was just a symbol, when His followers were leaving because they could not understand eating Christ's body, couldn't Jesus have just said, "Wait! Don't leave! It's just a symbol!" If the Eucharist were just a symbol, why did His followers leave at all?
When the ten apostles who were martyred were being tortured and killed for their faith, wouldn't they just have said, "But we really don't eat His body! It's just a symbol!"
Any man can create a symbol. God can give us His body and blood.
Isn't Jesus God?
Here's a thought I had today concerning the Eucharist and our Protestant brothers and sisters not accepting Christ's real presence.
Protestants are Christians - in that they believe Christ is God. They also believe God is the divine creator - and within this He is found to be all perfect, all knowing, all loving, all places, etc.
Sometimes words change reality. When a cop says, "you are under arrest," you are no longer a free person. When an umpire says, "you are out," you are no longer in the game.
Similarly, God's words change reality. When God said, "Let there be light." There was light! And when God said. "It was good," It was good!
So, if Christians believe Christ is God, and Christ says in John 6, "This is my body," Why wouldn't it be His body?
Thus, if the Protestant religion denies the ability of the consecrated host to be Christ's true body, even though Christ said it was, then they in fact deny Christ's divinity.
If Christ says, "This is my body," and then it is not His body, but just a symbol, our faith is in fact in vain. As Flannery O'Connor says: "If the Eucharist is just a symbol, to hell with it."
The Body of Christ...Amen!
I myself am guilty of failing to realize the amazing gift Christ has given us in the Eucharist. The creator of the universe, the savior of the world, the Son of God comes down and conceals Himself under the appearance of bread and wine and then we can consume this gift.
But most Sundays I find myself thinking, "Yes, it's God." Yes it's God - that's the thought of going through the motions.
When the priest/Eucharistic minister says, "The body of Christ." I respond "Amen." Amen! I stake my life on it. I believe that I am about to consume the true body and blood of my Lord and Savior.
And when I go back to my pew, and kneel down in thanksgiving, if I truly believed that Christ was in the Eucharist, would I ever be able to get off my knees in adoration?
Do you have any thoughts on the John 6 gospels we have been hearing these past weeks? What are your thoughts on the Eucharist? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks to All and God Bless,