Blood of Jesus Christ — John 6:48-59
I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live for ever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, How can this man give us his flesh to eat Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real 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 live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live for ever. He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.
Israelites on their journey to the Promised Land met with death due to starvation. God gave them manna in the wilderness with which their temporal life was sustained. Likewise we are on a journey to the Promised Land and we find ourselves to be starving without the bread that ensures us life in its fullness.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life” (Jn. 3: 16). God being the sole source and principle of life is pleased to give himself to his people in his Son. So Jesus tells here that without eating His flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus we can’t share in His eternal life. As manna gave temporal life in the wilderness, the new bread of life that is the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ gives eternal life.
Manna was given from above but it was not the bread of life, so those who ate of it died. But Jesus is the only true bread of life that comes from heaven. Eating this bread is eating Jesus’ flesh and drinking his blood. Here we can understand that Jesus is telling us about the Holy Eucharist.
God loves us and wants us to have a share of His life and it is to be actualized in and through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came down to us and gives Himself allowing us to partake in His flesh and blood, i.e. in His life itself. Those who eat and drink blood of Jesus Christ are in Him and He is in them.
Thus a person attains the character of God i.e. eternal life, by sharing in His flesh and blood. Mutual indwelling is the result of the reception of this bread. Manna in the wilderness gave them temporal life but did not form a part of them; here the new manna of life gives them eternal life. Through His body and blood, Jesus’ indwelling in a believer is made possible and it results in our eternal life. This is guaranteed as the life-sharing relation of the Son with the Father.
Thus the reception of the Holy Body and Blood of Jesus Christ is inevitable for eternal life as manna is for earthly life. So let us be the sharers of divine life by partaking in the body and blood of Jesus. Let us approach the Holy Eucharist with love and experience the abiding love of God in Jesus Christ, through His body and blood.
– – – reflection by Fr Abraham Muruppel