You shall not have life within you

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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!

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Kristi April 9, 2009 at 10:33 am

Matt, this was a God-send quote for me today! I’m trying to find Bible verses for a co-worker to counter the book “The Shack”, which talks a ton about “living in God’s life” but gives absolutely no guidelines for how to do that. This quote works so perfectly! What a priceless treasure we have in the Catholic Church!

Rhonda April 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm

You forgot the verse at the end of the passage where Jesus says His words are spirit & truth. It’s the escape clause for the Protestants to claim that Jesus was speaking metaphorically about the Eucharist. ;) A Baptist pushed that idea onto me, barely let me say anything in response.
At any rate, I agree with Kristi’s statement! I was in a “house church fellowship” for a while where the pastor read a lot of Jeanne Guyon, a 17th century French Christian writer. The pastor talked about “meditating on Christ in your heart” which apparently worked for him but was WAY too vague for me! John 6 was part of what drew me to the Church and I was confirmed on Divine Mercy Sunday ’08!

Matthew Warner March 16, 2010 at 2:21 am

A lot of those questions about proper scripture interpretation regarding the Eucharist are addressed really well in this article here if anyone is interested.

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