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God Gives Us His Body As Food And Blood As Drink



On the night before Jesus suffered, when he was at the table with his disciples Jesus took the bread, gave thanks said the blessing and gave to the disciples saying, “This is my body’. In the same way he took the chalice filled with wine and said, “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Mt. 26.26-28). It was at the thanksgiving cup that Jesus made this new covenant. Therefore we refer to it as the Eucharist (thanksgiving) in Greek. All the three gospels and the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians record this event in the life of Jesus.
Even today some Christians ask, Did Jesus really give us his body to eat and his blood to drink? For us Christians our belief is that Jesus really gave us his body to eat and his blood to drink. His body and blood is the food for journey to our eternal home. Jesus does not mince words when he says, “If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you”. (Jn 6.53) For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink (Jn 6.55).  It is not just a belief but truly the body and blood of Jesus. Jesus is the living bread that came down from heaven.
When the people heard this teaching of Jesus at Capernaum, they found it difficult to digest. In fact they responded saying, “this is intolerable teaching. How could anyone accept it?” And many of his disciples accompanied him no more (Jn 6.66). At this reaction, Jesus asked his disciples, “What about you, do you want to go away too”. Thus Jesus really gives us his body and blood to be our food for eternal life. And he also recommends us to celebrate it regularly, “Do this in memory of me”. (Lk 22.19)
So when the Christians come together to “break the bread,” it is the body of Christ that we eat and the blood of Christ that we drink. Jesus did not say, this bread represents my body or this cup of wine represents by blood, instead Jesus said, “This is my body” and “This is my blood.” And so as disciples of Christ, and as true Christians we believe that Jesus gave us his body to eat and his blood to drink as food for eternal life. Any church which performs this “breaking of the bread” as a representation of what Jesus did is committing “Idolatry”.
The “breaking of the bread” was first performed by Jesus himself even after the resurrection, on the way to Emmaus (Lk 24.30-35). And thus we see the disciples of Jesus performing them regularly whenever they gathered and later on the first days of the week (Acts 2.46, 20.7,15).
Thus as Christians let us remember that whenever we celebrate the Eucharist we are receiving the body and the blood of Christ which is our food for eternal life. We will not die, we shall live forever. Secondly, we are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes again at the end of the world. We proclaim God’s love for us (Jn 3.16). Thirdly, the Eucharist is a sacrifice, (as Jesus is giving himself for us to eat, the lamb is sacrificed for the expatiation of our sins) the sacrifice most acceptable to God the father. For us Christians too the best sacrifice we can offer is to partake devoutly at the Eucharist/Holy Mass. Christ’s death brought salvation to us and thus whenever we partake of the Eucharist he forgives our sins. Let all Christians come to know and learn what Christ does for us in the Eucharist, “the breaking of the bread”.
Fr. Paul Panii sdb


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