“What gives life is God’s Spirit; human power is of no use at all.
The words I have spoken to you bring God’s life-giving Spirit.
Yet some of you do not believe. […]
This is the very reason I told you
that no people can come to me unless the Father makes it possible for them to do so.”
– John 6:63-65 (GNT)
Jesus is telling us
that we cannot accept the mystery, that His body and blood are a pledge of eternal life and a guarantee of the resurrection of the body,
if we think of it in too human a way, in other words, by just seeking to indulge our senses or having too earthbound a view of things.
Only someone who listens to His words and receives them as God’s revelation, which is “spirit and life”, is in a position to accept them.
This is how Jesus had explained the “mystery” of the Eucharist:
“I am telling you the truth:
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood,
you will not have life in yourselves.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life,
and I will raise them to life on the last day.
For my flesh is the real food; my blood is the real drink.
Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood live in me, and I live in them.
The living Father sent me, and because of Him I live also.
In the same way whoever eats me will live because of me.
This, then, is the bread that came down from heaven […].
Those who eat this bread will live forever.” (Jn 6:53-58)
Jesus stresses very forcefully that it is necessary to receive Him in the Blessed Eucharist
in order to share in divine life and develop the life of grace received in Baptism.
No parent is content to just bring children into the world:
they have to be nourished and looked after to enable them to reach maturity.
Jesus clearly states that His body and blood
are a pledge of eternal life and a guarantee of the resurrection of the body.
St. Thomas Aquinas gives this explanation:
“The Word gives life to our souls, but the Word made flesh nourishes our bodies.
In this Sacrament is contained the Word not only in His divinity but also in His humanity;
therefore, it is the cause not only of the glorification of our souls but also of that of our bodies.”
Communion is a real meal. There is no room for saying that Jesus was speaking only symbolically.
Communion is not merely a metaphor, but it is really eating and drinking the Body and Blood of Christ.
St. Alphonsus Liguori expounds:
“But why should Jesus so ardently desire us to receive Him in Holy Communion?
It is because love always sighs for, and tends to a union with, the object beloved.
True friends wish to be united in such a manner as to become only one. The love of God for us being immense, He destined us to possess Him not only in Heaven,
but also here below, by the most intimate union, under the appearance of bread in the Eucharist.
It is true we do not see Him; but He beholds us, and is really present;
yes, He is present in order that we may possess Him
and He conceals Himself, that we may desire Him,
and until we reach our true homeland Jesus Christ wishes in this way to be entirely ours, and to be perfectly united to us”
In the same way as bodily food is necessary for life on earth, Holy Communion is necessary for maintaining the life of the soul.
We will never be able to appreciate enough the intimacy with God Himself – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – that we are offered in the eucharistic banquet.
Let us therefore take up Jesus’ unequivocal invitation for us to nourish our soul frequently with the food of His body,
that we may share eternal life with Him.
Feed me, Lord Jesus, my heart is hungry and my spirit thirsts.
Breathe on me, Holy Spirit, and fill me with life.