“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.”
Jesus’ statement shocked the Jews! Many saw his miracles of feeding the thousands with five loaves and two fish, and giving sight to the blind, recovery to the lame, and raising the dead. But now his words are shocking! They do not seem to be a part of what they hoped for in a Messiah. They hear his words as something beyond this world and they quarrel among themselves. They ask the question, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” It is a good question because the Jews do not believe in cannibalism. We do not believe in cannibalism either, so we may have that same question. Jesus does not ignore the question, but he answers by saying that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood if we are to have life within us. Wait, do we not already have life? But Jesus clarifies by saying, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.” In fact, if we wish to have God’s life within us, that is Eternal Life within us, and be raised up to heaven to live with God forever, then we must put our faith in Jesus Christ. We must choose to follow Jesus as the Son of God, or walk away from him because he appears to have gone insane. We read further that many of his disciples turn away from him because they think he has gone insane. They are content with the old miracles that made sense to them, but now he is asking them to have a deep faith in him that he will give them God’s life, supernatural life. We know from the Old Testament that God worked many miracles through holy prophets. Even Elijah raised a dead person to life, earthly life. But Jesus Christ is saying something completely new. In fact, Jesus will give us his Body and Blood at the Last Supper, the First Mass, by consecrating bread and wine into his Body and Blood thus establishing the New Testament which fulfills and surpasses the Old Testament.
The Jews today are still waiting for the Messiah to bring God’s Kingdom to earth, whereas we Catholics are being filled with God’s life, the divine life of grace to help bring God’s kingdom into the world and raise us up to heaven. Yet, some Catholics still enjoy miracles, so you can go online to read about 5 Eucharistic miracles in the last 30 years. A series of Eucharistic miracles occurred in Argentina 1992, 1994, 1996. In these miracles the consecrated hosts became human flesh. Scientists studied the 1996 occurrence extensively and discovered that the host became human tissue from the heart, the muscle that pumps blood and gives oxygen and thus life to the rest of the heart and body. The scientists also discovered that the heart tissue showed evidence that it belonged to a person who had gone through intense pain and struggled to breathe for extended periods of time. To the amazement of those involved with the study, the white blood cells which normally would disintegrate after 15 minutes outside a living body were still pulsating with life!
Science cannot prove that the tissue was Jesus’ heart tissue. Science cannot explain how a host changed into heart tissue, but science does say that it is heart tissue which went through much suffering.
As believers we see with the light of our Catholic faith that Jesus is here in the Eucharist because he loves us and wants to be with us. With the light of the Catholic faith we proclaim and celebrate that Jesus, the Son of God, wants to feed us with his divine life. My friends in Christ, Jesus is God made into man, and he has fulfilled all the Old Testament promises and miracles in himself. He is the New and Eternal Testament in which we fully participate every time we receive Jesus Christ in the state of grace. We can grow in divine faith when we make a spiritual communion or other acts of faith when we cannot receive Jesus in the Eucharist because of age, not fasting one hour prior to communion time, or not being in full communion with the Lord and his Catholic Church. The crucified and Risen Lord Jesus is the living bread from heaven, so that we who eat this divine food in faith, hope and love, will be brought to the fullness of heaven. After receiving Jesus Christ Sacramentally in the Eucharist, his Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, under the humble form of bread and wine, take time to thank him. Take time to praise his divine majesty and power. Take time to pray that he will apply his divine graces to your heart, your mind, your body and your relationships, that they would be made fully alive in the light of God. Peace in Christ, Fr. Thomas McCabe