Understand what is the will of the Lord (Eph 5, 17)
Jesus invites us to a shocking life, which, however, guarantees everlasting life and the resurrection.
Jesus does not sugarcoat his teaching in the face of the grumblers who quarrel among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Adding fuel to the fire, he warns, “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.”
That is how the preeminent Teacher is. He does not fail to challenge us to overcome our fears, repugnance, foolishness, lack of understanding, ignorance. He seeks our maturity. He calls us to Wisdom’s banquet, so that we may not settle for the bread that does not give eternal life or for the wine that leads to debauchery.
He insists rather on his flesh as true food and on his blood as true drink. He wants us to be assimilated, by nourishing ourselves with him, to the divinity that in him has become flesh and assimilated to us. Yes, Jesus is bent on urging us to enter into divine communion that his incarnation has made possible.
And such persistence is perhaps his way of proclaiming himself bread and wine, fruits not only of the earth but also of the work of human hands; those who take them, in effect, eat and drink for themselves all the laborers on account of whose efforts there is bread and wine. Very rightly does St. Vincent de Paul reminds us that “we live on the patrimony of Jesus Christ, on the sweat of the poor,” that the bread we eat comes to us “from the labor of the poor” (SV.FR XI:201). So then, the divine communion that Jesus fosters is human also, and hence, it is not Gnostic.
Jesus refers to this communion when he immediately says: “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.” Clearly, what guarantees everlasting life and the resurrection is this solidarity.
In solidarity with the least of the brothers and sisters of the one who worked the most to give us the bread of life, and being thus nourished truly with his flesh and his blood, we surely will inherit the Kingdom and live forever.
Lord, grant to us who receive communion to be completely spent for the good of others.