Eating the Flesh of the Messiah
Reflection on the Gospel of the Friday
The Gospel text of today continues with the discourse on the Bread of Life. Jesus speaks of the necessity of eating his flesh and drinking his blood. The language of Jesus is shocking to his audience: eating his flesh literally implied cannibalism, and drinking blood was detestable to the Jewish mind (Lev 17:10-14). This language of Jesus was intended to refer to the Eucharist in which the believer receives the flesh and blood of Jesus in a sacramental form. The flesh and blood of Jesus is his very self. The result of a believer consuming his flesh and blood is mutual indwelling: ‘Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them’. To eat and drink of his very self is to participate fully in the mission and destiny of Jesus, in his life and his death. Eating his body and drinking his blood is truly to be his disciple: in following him and believing in him. This is the nourishment that gives us eternal life and victory over death. Jesus adds that if the individual does this, then Jesus would also raise the person ‘on the last day’.
Jesus you are truly the bread of life that came down from heaven. Give me that hunger and thirst to partake of you daily in the Eucharist. Amen