Summary: How many times do we neglect the sacrament of the Eucharist (Communion) for the "thrills" of the modern age? This is a call back to the Early Church and what they held about this Most Blessed Sacrament.
Awakening in the Blood and Body
St. John 6:44-59 (ESV)
“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ’And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 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." The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" So Jesus said to them, "Truly, 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. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever." Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.”
In this passage of Holy Scripture we see that Christ is speaking to the Jews in their synagogue about the Body and Blood which he will offer not too long afterward on the cross of Calvary for the sins of all who would believe on Him. There are several truths that Christ is presenting to the Jews in this passage. First, he states that He is “the bread which comes from the Father.” Many of the Jews in that age fed upon the laws and regulations regarding cleanliness and personal purity while neglecting some of the more weighty requirements such as loving God more than anything and loving their neighbors as themselves.
Jesus stated to the Jews of that age as He speaks to us of this present age that He is the true way and all others are paltry imitations in truth. In an age when truth is subjective and each person makes their own version of “truth” how can we know that we have eternal life? The plain answer is to simply believe what Christ Himself taught about it. He is THE truth, THE way, and THE life and no one comes to Father except through Him (St. John 14:6). There is NO other way into the presence of God except through the provision God Himself made through His Son Jesus Christ. Since this is the case, why does the modern church focus more on the preacher to deliver the truth and neglect to seek it out for themselves? Simple: they either have no clue about historic Christianity or they simply refuse to open their eyes to the truth because it would mean inconvenient obedience and service to God in their personal lives and many simply are incapable of seeing beyond their own microcosm they’ve created for themselves into the glories of the reality of Christ’s Kingdom. Christ is plainly saying here that unless you partake of His flesh and drink of His blood that you cannot have life within you. What does this mean? Again, simple: The Eucharist (Communion). It is one of the sacraments across the board for all denominations, yet many neglect this focus of true worship.
As I sat outside preparing my sermon for Palm Sunday I was drawn to the narrative of the Emmaus Road. This is one of my favorite passages by the way. In it you have two disciples who knew Christ personally, yet they were “blinded” by the reality of Christ walking beside them due to their near sightedness of the recent event of His passion and crucifixion. As they walked Jesus spoke with them and they “burned” within themselves at the astonishing teachings that were coming from our Lord. The passage is found in St. Luke 24:13-31. It reads, “That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?’ And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, ‘Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ And he said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.’ And he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, ‘Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.’ So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.”