In the Gospel of John chapter 6 Jesus is recorded telling his disciples you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood if you want to have eternal life. Doesn’t this support a Catholic understanding of the Eucharist? Let’s read the words of Jesus in John chapter 6 starting in verse 53 he says very truly I tell you unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you will have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise them up on the last day. He goes on to say a bit more about that all reemphasizing the fact that his flesh and his blood is what we are to take part in as his followers. Our Catholic friends interpret this to be pointing to the Lord’s Supper the Eucharist the Mass and so with the blessing of an ordained priest the bread and the wine actually change into the real body and real blood of Jesus and that’s how his followers can take them into themselves by participating in a Catholic Mass. now those of us who don’t buy into Catholic theology on this would want to point out that Jesus was Jewish and as a Jewish rabbi he would follow the patterns of Jewish rabbis which is to make comparisons without using like or as the way we might today but just to state it directly for instance he would say he’s the Shepherd and we are the Sheep not he’s like a shepherd and we are like the Sheep. When he says that we are sheep we don’t say “baa” and assume that we are some kind of four footed creature we know that that’s symbolic. When Jesus says I am the gate and the Sheep will come in and out of the gate we don’t think that Jesus turns into a literal gate he’s saying he’s like a gate but Jewish rabbinical teaching doesn’t typically use like or as and so when he says I am the way or the road that you should travel he doesn’t turn into an actual road and so when he says you need to eat my flesh and drink my blood we say well in keeping with the way a Jewish rabbi would talk their symbolic value in what he says. Now the earliest reecord… or record of the way Jesus talked about his body in his blood at the Last Supper is in 1 Corinthians chapter 11. The apostle Paul there writing in about the 50s just a couple decades after Jesus. Records his words this way. It says that when he had broken the bread he said this is my body which is for you do this in remembrance of me. So he says this is my body eat it and the reason why we eat it is given to us in the very next phrase we do this simply to remember what his actual body has done has that the sacrifice that he has made he then goes on to say this cup is the New Covenant in my blood do this whenever you drink it in remembrance of me. So in keeping with rabbinical fashion he’s saying this bread is like my body this cup is like my blood because he doesn’t say you must drink this in order to get it inside you he’s saying you must eat and drink this in order to remember. To remember what I have accomplished. It is when we remember when we received the grace of Christ both in community and in prayer that we are feeding on his flesh that we are drinking his blood it’s not literal it’s a symbolic active memory and embrace. He goes on to say for whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. We don’t only individually remember but we proclaim it to one another, we participate in the Eucharist to declare this truth to each other. It’s an important thing that we participate as an active memory and an act of corporate proclamation and in so doing we are feeding on the essence of who Jesus is. Now it still raises questions of procedure. Exactly how should we take part in communion and how often? Some churches do it every time they get together every Sunday and others once a month or once a quarter and others would argue that we should do it once a year after all it was an annual Passover Seder that Jesus embedded his symbology in. Maybe we should just have it at home with our families once a year. But that’s another question. Hey thanks for spending this time together watching Bruxy’s Bag of Questions if you want to move right on to the next BBQ just click right here and if you want to see our entire playlist on a variety of other topics then you click right here and if you don’t want to miss an episode then subscribe to our BBQ by clicking right here. Thanks again for hanging out.