The Gospel according to John
Jesus said to the crowds:
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world."
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,
"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
Jesus said to them,
"Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood
has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven.
Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
God’s design for us to be incorporated into the Divine Trinitarian life is a mystery. The Eucharist is a mystery. Yet the basic truth is simple as bread. Jesus Christ in the Eucharist in the form of bread and wine reveals to us two things.
Firstly, that He is food. What is food? At its most basic function, we know that food is something external to us that we take into our bodies to be used as the fundamental building block for renewing us materially, bodily. It gives us energy, it sustains our bodily life. Food is also the means for our point of contact with each other; the family meal, wedding banquets, parties, get-togethers, restaurants. For every basic to significant milestones in our lives, food is there. It is the common denominator. Food allows us to share a common space and time with each other, it draws us into the reality that we are relational beings. We do not exist alone but for each other. It manifests the truth that our souls are made for communion.
Animals do not have this social and communal aspect to food. It is uniquely human.
Secondly, we should recognise that the Eucharist’s destination is only for human beings by the fact that the Eucharist is food and is communal. In other words, to have the capacity to receive the Eucharist requires two preequisites: - a body, angels cannot receive for they do not have bodies. - a soul, animals cannot receive for they do not have souls like humans.
God’s design for humanity is far beyond our wildest imagination.
He could have chosen to come to us in many ways - and He does come to us in many ways - but above all, He has given us Himself uniquely in the Eucharist.
Let us continually give thanks to God for the gift of the Eucharist and the institution that continues to call down Jesus in this mysterious way, the holy priesthood. May God have mercy on us as members of the church in all the ways we have defiled it.