“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.”

As we approach the climax of John 6, today finds Jesus responding to the Jews incredulity by reiterating and ramping up His assertion that His flesh and blood must be consumed in order for eternal life to be gained (Jn 6:52-59).  In the last verse we find out that this teaching in happening in Capernaum’s synagogue, thus adding to its authority.  The vast majority of Christians have believed from the beginning that, at the time the Eucharist is confected in the Mass, the bread that was there becomes the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ, with only the appearances of bread remaining.  What a precious gift from our Lord who promised to be with us always (Mt 28:20)!  If a true appreciation for what Jesus instituted and continues to do for us was had, no Catholic would stay away from Sunday Mass, and many more would be attending daily Mass.  And for those of us who do understand the importance of Christ’s Real Presence, we want everyone else to receive this gift as well.  This is why it is not good enough to be apathetic about or conciliatory toward those who do not believe.  We should want everyone to have the fullness of truth and life that comes with the Church and its sacraments, and especially the Sacrament.  Most, if not all, converts to Catholicism will say that a proper understanding leading to belief in the Eucharist was key to their entering the Church; they found that they could not stay away any longer.  Reverts will say, to a person, that it was a lack of appreciation for the Eucharist that allowed them to drift away (or storm away) from the faith of their birth, and a renewed conviction regarding It that was key to them on the journey home.  Let us never take the Eucharist for granted, let us never receive it unworthily, and let us never fail to give thanks (after all, that is what “eucharist” means) for this great gift.

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