Recently, I had a back and forth with a Facebook friend who took issue with my belief in the Eucharist being the actual body and blood of Christ. This person is a professed Evangelical Protestant and he described the whole concept of Christ’s followers literally feeding on the body and blood of Christ as simply “gross.” I couldn’t help but think that those in the audience that Christ had when he first introduced the concept to his disciples in the Gospel of John, Chapter 6, could have used this same word to describe what they were hearing. They were probably thinking it, at least, as John tells of how they were “murmuring” (could they have been saying “Oh, man, this is really gross!”) and how “many of His followers returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him.” We know that one thing they did say was “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” Jesus could have taken control of the situation. He could have said “Hold on! What I will actually do is consecrate bread and wine and turn them into my body and blood. It will still look and taste like bread and wine, but it will actually be my body and blood. So, you see, it won’t be as gross as you are thinking.” But He didn’t do that. He apparently wanted them to realize that he would indeed be giving them His body and blood to eat and drink. He even said “for my flesh is real food and by blood real drink.” So, He let them walk away. He then queried his twelve apostles, wondering if they, too, wanted to leave. Peter answered Him with another question: “To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to know and are convinced that You are the Holy One of God.” They continued to follow Jesus believing that they would indeed feed on His flesh and blood one day and that this is what He wanted them to do. It wasn’t until much later, at the Last Supper, that what Jesus had in mind for this would become clear and that the very first transubstantiation would take place. How exciting it is to realize that over 2000 years later, I am among those who are saying to the Lord “We have come to believe and are convinced that You are the Holy One of God.” What an extraordinary gift it is to be able to share in the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass!
The photo is of the sanctuary of the chapel of the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters in Lincoln, Nebraska, at a moment during the perpetual adoration of the body of Christ.