Bread and Wine, Body and Blood

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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.”

Then many of his disciples who were listening said,
“This saying is hard; who can accept it?”
As a result of this, many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.

Even today, these words are hard to accept. We may have heard them too often to still be shocked by them. But, they are shocking words: eat my flesh, drink my blood. Oh, Christ meant those words symbolically. The bread and wine symbolize his flesh and blood. No, when he took the bread, he said “This is my body.” And when he took the wine, he said, “This is my blood.” Oh, we are just reliving and remembering what he did at his Last supper. No, we are told as an article of faith that the bread is the body of Christ and the wine is his blood.

It is incredible normal people do not eat the flesh nor drink the blood of other persons. It is irrational and does not stand to reason. It is idiocy for our senses say otherwise. And yet, this is what we have chosen to believe.

Incredible, irrational and idiotic it may seem, it is nothing compared to the the ways of the world that would kill and harm others just to stay in power. Or, to a world where people go hungry or even die of hunger because others have amassed more of the world’s resources beyond their needs and simply refuse to share. Or, a world where people are fed lies and untruths to foist upon people a reality of their own making and to their own selfish advantage.

It is incredible but Christ’s followers would respond to hatred with love, to violence with forgiveness, and to judgement with acceptance. It is irrational but believers in Christ would do good to those who hate them, pray for those who persecute them and love their enemies. It is idiotic but Christians would willing give up their lives so that others may live, be there for the oppressed and marginalized when everyone else have walked away.

His words are hard to accept and his commandment of love is even hard to practice. But those who have taken their belief in him seriously have lived heroic and saintly lives. Unworthy though I may be, I still aspire to be in their numbers when they come marching in.

This entry was posted in Discipleship, Faith, Mystery, Spirituality and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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