The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like that which your ancestors ate, and they died. But the one who eats this bread will live forever.”
How would this be for a programme of life: see every object as if it were your own body; see every person as if he or she were yourself? It would make a great difference to your life – even if you experienced it only momentarily. Even if you experienced it only once, you would know from that moment what our life can be.
There’s a half-way step: treat every object with as much care as if it were your own property; treat every person as if he or she were your brother or sister.
Jesus did not say: think about me, talk about me; he said “eat my flesh, drink my blood.” If I have done that, then when I think or talk, it will be his word sounding in me. Eating and drinking are about assimilation. We are assimilated to Christ, we are his body. St Paul comes back to this teaching again and again. Here are a few instances: "Christ is the head of the body, the Church" (Col 1:18). "For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members of one another" (Rom 12:4-5). “For in the one Spirit we were all baptised into one body - Jews or Greeks, slaves or free - and we were all made to drink of one Spirit" (1 Cor 12:13).
To live out this teaching is the Christian's programme of life. We have been attempting the half-way step I mentioned above. It is very commendable, but it doesn’t go beyond a moralistic vision. We are invited, by the faith we profess, to go the whole way.
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