Flesh and Blood
Jesus is teaching in Capernaum. The disputing crowd in the earlier part of John 6 ix replaced by people like us, curious an wanting to learn what this rabbi has to say. He tells us that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood to have eternal life, to be connected with God in the same way he is. This will be startling to the disciples and other hearers.
A young man was curious about Christianity. He went to his fiance’s pastor to learn about Jesus. During one of their last sessions, he observed Holy Communion. Afterward, he was alarmed, “Isn’t that like cannibalism? Eating a person’s flesh and blood?” The pastor explained that Jesus is calling us to accept him completely, to receive eternal life through him.
John wrote his gospel at a time when a lot of people thought that Jesus may have been only a spiritual being, not fully human, flesh and blood. We may sometimes slip into that kind of thinking as well.”
Jesus is a nice person; Jesus was God and not like us; Jesus didn’t experience what all humans experience.” Our gospel reading today calls those ideas into question. John wanted us to see that Jesus gave all of himself for us, in his life and in his death.
When we receive Holy Communion, it appears to be simply bread and wine. But Jesus reminds us that what we are integrating into ourselves is Him, flesh and blood and Spirit. Our very cells are changed by the presence of the bread and wine – the body and blood of Christ.
It’s a mystery how it happens that bread and wine become the very flesh and blood of Jesus, but it is true. We are in awe of the miracle that Jesus becomes part of us as the bread of life. This is most certainly true and has meaning and purpose for those who believe in God through Christ.