I’ve been a little political lately, but I must say the fire in London has turned my gaze back to heaven. I can’t write further than my last post on it at the moment, it’s too raw. I’m not from London and evidently have no actual experience of the fire, but I share in the humanity of those caught in it and can, tentatively, put my self in their shoes. However even a glimpse of their pain at the moment is too much, God help them survive.
So back to the Body of Our Lord. I read an amazing article in the Catholic Herald; apparently Eucharistic miracles that have been tested, some centuries ago and some more recent, have shown a consistent blood type. The uncommon AB. I would encourage you to read the fascinating post.
I’m a Catholic revert and like many who’ve returned to the faith I’ve found some areas of dogma have been a little challenging at first, but over time as my spiritual life grew so has my understanding. This is true of the Catholic belief in the real presence in th Eucharist.
The first building block in this area of my faith comes from the Bible.
John 6: 30-66:
So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, `He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'”
Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I AM the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me; and this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up at the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that every one who sees the Son and believes in him should have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, `I have come down from heaven’?”
Jesus answered them, “Do not murmur among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, `And they shall all be taught by God.’ Every one who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me. Not that any one has seen the Father except him who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life. I AM the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man may eat of it and not die. I AM the living bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.”
The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
So Jesus said to them, “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 at 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. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever.”
This he said in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him.
Notice how he reapetedly says He is the bread of life. Notice too how when the disciples question him about it He doesn’t explain the meaning behind the ‘parable’ like in Mark 4:13-20, nor does He clarify when they’ve taken Him literally and He means it figuratively like with the discussion regarding the ‘yeast of the pharisees’ (Mark 8:1-16). So that would suggest that when He talks like this, no matter how amazing, He means it. It’s not a parable, they haven’t misunderstood. When some of His disciples leave Him because they can’t accept it He let’s them go.
When you read on it is clear that the core 12 disciples remain;
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”
Notice that it’s Simon Peter again who speaks in response to another “Who do you say I Am?” moment. It appears that Simon Peter gets it right again; he knows the truth of who Jesus is. It’s like he can just see Him out of the corner of his eye. That Jesus is God.
We all have the same opportunity to see God. I know the idea of God as a little wafer is bizarre; but is it any more bizarre than how He appeared to those first century Jews? For modern day Christians who’ve accepted Jesus as God, even though we live in an era that belittles let alone joins in this belief, we still stand on the understanding that has been ours for generations.
Yet for first century Jews the Messiah was to be a warrior king, victorious, a glorious figure. He was to be another David. What they got was a babe born in a stable, from a background that had the local tongues wagging, reared by a carpenter father, fleeing from a megolamaniac. Not even a Levite.
Yes, in His miracles Simon Peter may have divined God’s hand. But then there was Hid dying on a cross, rejected, a humiliating death. The Messsiah!
Who do you say I AM?
Jesus, who so loved the world that He gave up His divinity, His power to become one of us. Who became a babe in a manger, vulnerable. Who allowed Himself to be hung on that cross for us.
Jesus, who so loves the world that He cloaks His divinity in a puny wafer and is carried to the sick. Is consumed by the sinful. Can be broken by us in our mouths.
Who do you say I AM?
This is why I believe in the Eucharist. Because when you take His words together with who He was and how He behaved, it’s not so shocking. I feel like Peter who had abandoned Him but when He has the news that his Lord is risen runs to the tomb, and then ponders.
Can you imagine, what it must have been like to kneel before the risen Lord, knowing this was God. Noticing His flesh, His wounds, watching Him eat after watching Him suffer.
Well, we can do that.
Today I went to the Church. I was in a rush, with a few minutes to spare. The tabernacle was in a side chapel. I knelt before it just to say “I love you Lord” and touched the ornate gold door of the box and thought “He is here. He is risen.”
How great is my God.