In a crowded synagogue in Capharnaum... John 6:51-59
We see a man wearing a seamless white robe and sandals. He is of medium build and height. We guess his age to be about 32 years. He speaks with a very pleasing voice, but also with authority. Some in the crowd address him as “Rabbi” which means teacher. Others call Him “Jesus.”
A large group of men are gathered around this man Jesus...
They ask Him questions and listen intently to His answers. There is something about this young Jewish rabbi that draws us to Him.
“I am the living bread, which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread, which I shall give for the life of the world, is my flesh.”
The Jewish men demand an explanation...
Jesus answers, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.”
Some of the men in the crowd tell Jesus...
“This is a hard saying. Who can listen to it?” Many of them draw back and start to leave. Jesus then turns to his closest disciples and asks them, “Will you also go away? ”
Simon Peter, the leader of the Rabbi’s followers, answers, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed and have come to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Jesus leaves the synagogue with His followers...
We know that this man speaks the truth. We must give serious thought to his words.
We find ourselves in a large upper room in Jerusalem... (Mathew 26:17-35)
Jesus is here with His twelve apostles to share the Passover meal. We see Jesus seated at the center of a long banquet table. The apostle Peter sits at his right side and John at his left side. The ten other apostles, including Judas, are also seated at the table and talking to each other.
Jesus now begins to speak and the talking stops. He says that the Son of Man will be handed over to the authorities and be put to death. In a very sad voice, Jesus tells them that one of those at the table will betray Him. Suddenly there is an outburst of agitated voices.
Each of the apostles asks, “Is it I Lord?”
Judas approaches Jesus and asks the same question. Jesus answers, “You have said it.”
Tears come to our eyes. Surely these things will not come to pass?
A servant enters and places unleavened bread on the table...
Jesus blesses it, breaks it and gives it to his disciples and says, “Take and eat for this is My Body.”
He takes a cup of wine, blesses it, hands it to each of his disciples and says; “Drink of it, all of you, for this is My Blood of the new covenant; which shall be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Jesus then says “Do this in memory of me.” A hymn is sung and Jesus and the apostles depart for the Mount of Olives. The upper room is now empty.
The words Christ spoke at Capharnaum are now clear...
He is telling us that we are to unite ourselves to Him. The Mass is a re-enactment of this sacred meal and is the most important part of our worship. The Eucharist is not just a symbol, but is actually Jesus under the appearance of consecrated bread and wine. What a staggering reality. On receiving the Eucharist, God is so very real and so very close. Communion must be seen as Christ giving Himself to us — something He did during His whole life.
The Eucharist has the power to change our lives...
The question we must now answer is, do we really believe that Jesus is actually present under the appearance of consecrated bread and wine?
It is not difficult to imagine Jesus in His own quiet way asking us, “Will you also go away?” With conviction, we can echo Peter’s response, “Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”