John 6: 52-59
For those of us who believe, communion with Jesus Christ reaches its deepest level and greatest expression in the Eucharist. But for those who do not believe, the question will always remain: “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
The Eucharist is many things. It is sacrament – it makes real, in the tangible forms of bread and wine, the risen Christ. It is meal – in this encounter with Jesus we are fed and nourished. It is sacrifice – in the Mass we memorialize Jesus’ gift of himself for us on the cross. It is expectation– the promise of eternal life.
But ultimately, the Eucharist, and Jesus’ presence in it, is mystery – a mystery that involves faith and trust. The Eucharist goes beyond proof – it will always elude our total understanding. Notice Jesus doesn’t answer the question, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Instead he states absolutely: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you”.
Jesus reminds us that the Eucharist is primarily about relationship. We who participate in the Eucharist share in the very same relationship that the Father has with the Son and the Son has with his Father – how Jesus was in the Father and the Father was in Jesus. What one did, the other did and to see one was to see the other. “Indeed”, Jesus proclaimed on this same occasion, “this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks upon the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life – and I will raise him up on the last day. I am the bread that came down from heaven”. Unlike the manna in the desert, this divine food leads to eternal life beginning here and now.
Through Eucharist we discover Jesus in our past, our present and our future.
- Fr. Damian Towey, CP is a member of the community at Our Lady of Florida Spiritual Center,North Palm Beach,Florida.