The sixth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel is a very crucial passage from the gospel, in which Our Lord promises to give us his flesh to eat and his blood to drink. It was a shocking statement, and some found the whole idea so repulsive and incredible that they “walked with him no more,” as Saint John tells us. It is not until the Last Supper that we find out what Our Lord means by that promise.
Down through the centuries of Christianity, different groups have tried to interpret Christ’s words in different ways. Some take them in a purely figurative sense: Jesus is the sustenance of our spiritual life as bread is the principal staple of our physical nutrition. Some take them in a symbolic way, and so once a month or so, they have in their churches a service in which bread and wine (or grape juice in lieu of wine) are distributed to symbolize Jesus, our food and drink. We Catholics, however, take Our Lord’s words very literally as has been the constant teaching of the Church from the Last Supper. The most blessed sacrament of the altar will continue to be the very heart and center of our spiritual life and our life of worship until the end of time.
Jesus tells us, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” The way, or road, guides one to his destination. The truth satisfies one’s desire to know, to be wise.
The life animates one and makes him fulfill his role as a rational animal, a creature which has a body but also an intellectual, immortal soul. And we receive Jesus, our way, truth, and life, most fully and most effectively in our reception of the Eucharist. We call that reception “Holy Communion”: the union with the individual human being with Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar. And we always remember His words: “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you will not have life in you.” A true Christian is defined by his relationship with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Let us therefore satisfy frequently—even daily, if possible—our hunger and thirst for the way, the truth, and the life that guide, teach, and animate us throughout this life and on into eternal union with our Blessed Savior.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.