It’s easy to sense the growing exasperation in the Gospel as Jesus tries to teach the crowds about the Bread of life.
The crowds were exasperated by the mere thought of Jesus giving us his flesh and blood for food. Jesus is probably exasperated with their lack of understanding. however, being the model of patience and virtue that he understandably is, he continues on with his instruction, all the while knowing the rejection and confusion that will ensue.
Indeed, how many people alive today still reject Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist? Studies show that around 57% of Catholics actually believe in the real presnce of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
While it’s understandable that belief in the real presence occasions a struggle within the intellect, we eventually come to the point where we either believe Jesus Christ, or we do not. Is he Lord? Or is he not Lord? Is he really and truly present? Or did he lie?
The earliest testimonies that exist, from the Scriptures themselves, to the accounts of the first Christian communities, down through time to us, all attest to a lively faith in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.
As St. Iraneus of Lyons wrote: “[Christ] has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be his own Blood, from which he causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, he has established as his own Body, from which he gives increase to our bodies.”
Times have changed and the modern world is closer knit; but ancient wisdoms do not change. And God remains the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus speaks to our hearts in today’s Gospel, his words finding purchase in Faith filled souls.
“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat of the flesh of the son of Man and drink of 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.”