We can’t talk about the Kingship of Jesus without the Eucharist.
My husband and I were both cradle Catholics – but we didn’t stay Catholic. Our youngest son, Danny had a very serious illness at six months of age. Shortly after diagnosis, I was on the hunt to help him get better. I was looking for a healing and determined that God would give me what I wanted.
Something was missing!
We weren’t active in the Church at the time – although we checked off all the boxes and had our children baptized. We were introduced to a non-denominational church. I had no problem jumping into this because I was determined to find this healing for our son and willing to do whatever I had to; to make it happen. My husband, on the other hand, struggled. “We’re Catholic,” he’d say. “We don’t belong there.” But it was truly the right place for us at that time. We learned so much. However, there came a point where we felt like something was missing. We turned to each other and knew immediately what it was. The Eucharist was missing and so we returned home.
Do we need the Eucharist?
The Catholic Catechism tell us that the “Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.” Jesus’ words at the Last Supper – “This is my body – this is my blood” can be found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke.
But it is the Gospel of John – Chapter 6 where Jesus really emphasizes the Eucharist.
Bishop Robert Barron, founder of Word on Fire, states, “Without the Eucharist – spiritually speaking – we will starve to death.” Pope St. John Paul II also stated, “Without the Eucharist, the Church dies.” St. Thomas Aquinas stated, “Christ’s power is in the other Sacraments, but in the Eucharist, Christ Himself is Present.”
It is Spelled out in the Gospel of John, Chapter 6
The Gospel of John, Chapter 6 begins with the multiplication of the five loaves and two fish. This massive crowd follows Jesus because of this miracle. Jesus says, “Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.”
The crowd then says to Jesus, “What sign can you do that we may see and believe in you?” This is amazing because they just experienced the miracle of the five loaves and two fish and yet they are asking for something more. I can certainly relate to these people.
They then recall the manna in the dessert eaten by their ancestors in which Jesus tells them that this manna was not given to them by Moses – but by the Father. Jesus says, “the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They then say – “Give us this bread always.” Jesus then tells them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst.”
The crowd is now baffled because they think they know Jesus, after all, isn’t he the Son of Joseph – YES – but He is so much more, and they don’t realize this.
Truth is sometimes hard to believe
Jesus continues, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world…unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life…For my life is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.”
At this point, everyone is beyond baffled. Jews do not drink the blood of anything. And eating the flesh of another human being is just too bizarre to comprehend. His many disciples – his followers – choose to return to the former way of life and walk away from Jesus because of this.
Does Jesus miss an Opportunity!
As Bishop Barren states, this is a perfect opportunity for Jesus to explain that what He is referring to is only a symbol – not really my flesh and my blood – but only a symbol. Jesus doesn’t do that. Instead, he turns to the twelve apostles and asks them, “Do you also want to leave?”
Jesus never changes who He is or back tracks on anything He says. He speaks with purpose. When He asks the twelve apostles – “do you also want to leave”, it is Peter who responds, “To Whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
In other words, Peter is saying, “I am convinced of who You are. That doesn’t mean I understand everything you are saying. I don’t understand this flesh and blood thing you’re talking about, but I believe you will explain it to me. I will not give up on You – I will continue to move forward with You.”
I can imagine Peter at the Last Supper when Jesus takes bread, blesses it and says, “This is my body.” I see a light bulb go off in Peter’s head as he breathes a sigh of relief.
Do you believe?
Bishop Barron states that “the Eucharist will always be a decisive point.” Some people will say YES and some will say NO and walk away as many of Jesus’ disciples did that day. This question is for each of us. What will you do? Do you believe the words of Jesus – even though they are hard to understand, OR will you say NO – I can’t do this – and walk away like the disciples did that day?
St. Benedict says that “Christianity is not an idea. It is an experience. It is an encounter with the person, Jesus Christ.” There truly is no better way to encounter Jesus than through the Eucharist. It is an intimate, unique experience.