Jesus asked us to eat His actual Body and drink His actual Blood in order to gain eternal life.
Anyone who doesn’t believe this cannot call themselves Catholic.
In common with other Christians, Catholics believe that the Scriptures are the written Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus makes a statement, He is speaking the Truth.
We believe Him when He says: “I am the bread of life (John 6:35)” and “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And this bread, which I will give for the life of the world, is My flesh (John 6:51)”
Here Jesus makes three statements which follow in logical order:
- He is the living bread from heaven
- Anyone who eats this bread will live forever
- This bread is Jesus’ flesh
We have to eat Christ’s physical Body in order to live forever. There is no other way to interpret His words.
He does not say ‘eat a symbol of My Body’ – he says we must eat His flesh. Period.
The Jews found this statement difficult, just like many people today. “The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat? (John 6:52)”
It would not have been lost on the Jews that Jesus used the phraseology “I AM” which is God’s name for himself as declared to Moses: Yahweh or “I AM WHO I AM” (Exodus 3:14)
Jesus was calling Himself God, and God was telling them to eat Him!
A hard concept to accept indeed.
Jesus goes further: “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day (John 6:53 – 56)”
There is no ambiguity here. Why do Christians doubt the Truth revealed by Jesus Himself? True followers of Christ don’t choose to believe a diluted version of the Truth because it’s easier on their sensibilities.
Jesus knew we would find this troublesome. Like any good teacher, when introducing a new idea, He had to explain it several times to ensure that we would know He meant what He said.
“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever (John 6: 55 – 58).”
Again, there is nothing ambiguous about ‘eat my flesh and drink my blood.’
There is nothing to misinterpret in ‘the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.'
At the Last Supper, he said again: at how other Christian denominations completely
“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." (Matthew 26:26)”
Not, ‘this is a symbol of my body.’
To ‘believe’ in Christ means listening to His Word and acting upon it. Otherwise we’re not even Christians, let alone Catholics!
After Jesus said that we need to eat His real Flesh and drink His real Blood (not a symbol of them) many of His disciples left him. Why else would they leave Him if not because they didn’t like what he said? They understood His meaning perfectly.
“So Jesus asked the Twelve, “Do you want to leave too?” Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that You are the Holy One of God (John 6: 67 -69)”
‘Believing in Jesus’ is not the same as ‘believing that He exists.’ Even the Devil believes that Jesus exists.
Jesus says in John 11:26: “And everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?"
Believing in Jesus means taking His Words at face value, because Jesus is Truth. It means following His precepts, including eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood.
It means not making up a more palatable version (pun intended) of Holy Communion, dumbing it down by calling it a ‘symbol’ and thereby depriving ourselves of the unique gift God gave us of His real Flesh and Blood to help us get to heaven.
Christ could not have made His intentions any clearer.
Perhaps it will help to read accounts of the Eucharist being alive to help you realize that it is the Body and Blood of Christ?