I believe in
While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
The words at the very top of this reflection “I believe in —— ——” are the same as last Sunday.
These two weeks are about core-required beliefs for the Christian man, woman, and child. Last week it was about the identity of God, We believe in One God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This week it is about the bread and wine we offer as a community. What is that bread and wine when we consume it while kneeling at the altar rail?
Jesus assured us on many occasions that we would eat His flesh and drink His blood. This wasnâ€™t something He came up with on the night of the Last Supper. This is His purposeful gift.
In His discourse with His disciples He said: This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.â€ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, â€œHow can this man give us his flesh to eat?â€ So Jesus said to them, â€œTruly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
Jesus knew very well that many would not accept this. For Jews consuming blood is not Kosher at all nor is eating human flesh. We have confirmation of this because shortly thereafter many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him.
This dialog happened shortly after Jesus fed the multitude. They wanted to make Him their king because of His miracles. A day or so later He was almost alone.
So Jesus said to the Twelve, â€œDo you want to go away as well?â€ Simon Peter answered him, â€œLord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.â€
This is our test. Do we stay or go? Jesusâ€™ way, His teachings, everything about Him including the faith we must have to proclaim these core beliefs about His identity and the gift He has given us are not easy. When we kneel, what are we kneeling to? What is this bread and wine? If we believe in Him and the reality of His gift, let us kneel and proclaim I believe! I receive You!