Jesus says, in John 6, “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.” What is Jesus saying? For some, Jesus seems to be excluding life from those who do not believe in the power of Eucharistic action. Or, more generally, those who don’t believe in Jesus himself are not part of His promises. We are reminded, in next week’s readings, that even many who followed Jesus could not accept Jesus talk about eating his flesh and drinking his blood. So, what are we to make of it?!
I don’t think that we, as Christians, need to believe that faith in Jesus is the only way to connect with God. Muslims, Jews, and Buddhist persons, among others, are good people of strong faith. The Christian claim is that God did a new thing in Jesus that no other tradition embraces: God came among us and made us entirely hers by becoming vulnerable to the point of death on a Cross. God through Christ becomes intimate, approachable, and saving in way that is different and unique amongst the religions of the world throughout history. We can acknowledge Christianity’s powerful claims without making it sound like we are better than anyone else. As a Christian, I will say, it is comforting – and a source of great strength - for me to know that, through sharing in the passion of Jesus (the Eucharist, His body and blood), I can celebrate and be a part of God’s continuing life in the world. We receive Jesus in the bread and wine and enter into the “bread of life” that is God’s mercy and grace in Jesus.