This scripture passage records one of the most explicit explanations Jesus gives to the Apostles on how to attain everlasting life by participation in the Eucharist. He later demonstrates the fullness of this teaching for us at the Last Supper (the first Mass) – which we celebrate today on this Holy Thursday.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed: and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, abideth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, the same also shall live by me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead. He that eateth this bread, shall live for ever. (John 6: 51-59)
If you read further in this passage you see that because of this teaching many of the disciples think this a “hard teaching” and “walked with him no more.” Unfortunately, we see this exact scenario today. Many Christians have split from the Church because of this hard teaching. They don’t believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. It is too hard of a teaching for many.
Afterward, Jesus turned to the Apostles and asked if they would leave also? Peter responded, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of everlasting life.” Good point, Pete!
Happy Holy Thursday, everyone!