It’s fascinating to see how some Christians struggle with this week’s gospel (John 6:51-58). Our fundamentalist Christian brothers and sisters who believe in the literal interpretation of the bible have great difficulty with this week’s passage. When Jesus says, “my flesh is real food and my blood real drink,” it is rather certain that he means what he says. Yet in this instance, some will say that Jesus is only speaking symbolically. Unfortunately, our fundamentalist friends are not the only ones mistaken. In a survey several years ago, many Catholics said that they did not believe in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. How sad!
If the Eucharist was not really the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus, why would St. Paul be so severe in his letter to the Corinthians? He says, “This means that whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord. A man should examine himself first; only then should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. He who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks a judgment on himself.” (1Cor 11:27-29) In other words, the person is committing a sacrilege or mortal sin by receiving Holy Communion while not in the state of grace.
Our Lord loves us so much that on Calvary he allowed his body to be ground into wheat and crushed into wine so as to feed us in the Eucharist. May we express our gratitude by allowing the Eucharist to transform ourselves into the image of Christ here on earth.
- Fr. Carl