Gospel Jn 6:51-58
“For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.”
The readings from these past few weeks are a bit repetitive. On and on Jesus keeps saying these strange things about his body and blood being food and drink.
Today is no different. He is careful to emphasise this point “Very truly I tell you” – He is not speaking figuratively here – “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” These are strong and terrifying words, but words that also convey a great sense of hope.
Jesus is promising eternal life to those who eat of this bread of life which is his flesh.
While it is true that he is talking quite literally, there is something mysterious happening here – how can it be that we are to eat and drink his very body and blood?
For Catholics, this speaks very clearly of our understanding of the Eucharist, as instituted by Christ himself on the night before he died, at his Last Supper. In the Eucharist which we partake in at Mass is a continual offering of the Body and Blood of Jesus, God the Son, to God the Father, in the Holy Spirit.
As we receive the Eucharist we are taken up into the mystery of God – as Jesus himself asserted, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.”
In a sense we can say that God is the food that consumes us.