I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations)
St. Paul writes: “Be filled with the Spirit; make music to the Lord in your hearts; give thanks to God always and everywhere.” And Jesus said: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever.” The utter realism of eating flesh and drinking blood was shocking to Jesus’ hearers…as indeed it can be puzzling to us.
Yet this teaching brings home the realism of the full humanity of Jesus – Jesus alive and present in and through and with each one of us as we use our God-given talents to become the Lord’s hands and heart and voice wherever we go in this world. In truth we extend Jesus’ mind and imagination, his words and deeds through our own practical living of the gospel. So it is that, as we receive the Eucharist, our struggling humanity is joined to the full and actually transformed humanity of the Risen Christ.
The gospels tell us that people grumbled at the teaching Jesus offered. Others just shook their heads and walked away. They couldn’t understand that Jesus was offering a new kind of wisdom. Yet it is this same Jesus who throws his arms open wide to each of us this week as we go forth in his name. His words for each of us are indeed spirit and life. Come, Lord Jesus, to our waiting world. Give us your wisdom; send us your Holy Spirit. Transform our hearts and homes. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, though we pray fervently, seek your presence, and beseech you for relief from suffering that torments us or those we love, you sometimes seem removed and even hidden. You must have known we would be restless in our search for you. On the night you were betrayed, you reached through the centuries to gift us with a tangible experience of your living presence — Your Body and Your Blood. Each time we partake of the Eucharist, you become one with us and assure us of your sacred bond. We go forth confident that your life lives within us, that we are significant, and you really do care about our relationships, our struggles, and our dreams.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team