The Gospel for Corpus Christi confronts us with the enormity of what God does for us in Jesus Christ: feeding us with his body and blood, his life.
In the sacramental communion we receive at Mass, it is easy to miss the extraordinary quality of what Jesus does for us. In the Gospel, Jesus repeats the point again and again. He seems to want to provide no point of escape for those who find his words puzzling and offensive.
Jesus said to the Jews:
‘I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.
Anyone who eats this bread will live for ever;
and the bread that I shall give is my flesh,
for the life of the world.’
Then the Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said.
‘I tell you most solemnly,
if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood,
you will not have life in you.
Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life,
and I shall raise him up on the last day.
For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me
and I live in him.
As I, who am sent by the living Father,
myself draw life from the Father,
so whoever eats me will draw life from me.
This is the bread come down from heaven;
not like the bread our ancestors ate:
they are dead,
but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’
- What is the importance of Jesus giving us his body and blood to eat and drink?
- How do you draw life from Jesus?
- What is it to live for ever? When, how, does that life begin? What are its characteristics for you now?
The image is The Blood of the Redeemer by Giovanni Bellini, part of the collection of the National Gallery, London.