True Body, True Blood
True Body, True Blood…
Do you question if the Eucharist is truly the body and blood of Jesus?
Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…” As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. -John 6:53-56,66, NAB
As a former Protestant, accepting transubstantiation – the changing of substance of the bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood – was a difficult teaching for me to grasp and accept. As we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, let’s study John 6, a favorite verse of Catholic Apologists.
In John 6, Jesus is speaking to His disciples, teaching them as He often did. The lesson from John 6 was a little more controversial, however. Christ was telling them that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood, and this stirred the crowd. The crowd was growing upset, but Jesus offered no apologies.
Many Protestants try to say that Jesus was speaking symbolically, just as He was at the Last Supper. They say that the bread and wine are a metaphor for His body and blood, but let’s notice a significant event – many of His disciples left! What He said was so controversial, that many went back to their normal lives!
Learning the meaning of this verse changed my understanding of the Eucharist. If Jesus was speaking symbolically, why would the huge crowds, that normally hung on His every word, turn around and leave? Because, He was not speaking symbolically. Jesus was saying that they literally had to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood. In other words, participate in the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is a blessing in our lives. Through it, we get to experience God in a very real way. He is not some deity off in the cosmos; we experience Him weekly, if not daily, in the Eucharist. May the True Body and True Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, continue to bring grace and blessings into your life.