“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my Flesh and drinks my Blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my Flesh is true food, and my Blood is true drink. John 6:53–55
On a philosophical level, it’s useful to consider various things that appear to be “competing forces.” Good appears to be the opposite of evil. Light the opposite of dark. Heat the opposite of cold. And life the opposite of death. But are they truly opposites in the sense of being competing forces? When considered carefully, it is clear that good and evil, light and dark, heat and cold, and life and death are not actually “competing forces;” rather, evil is simply the absence of good, darkness the absence of light, cold the absence of heat, and death the loss of life. And though this philosophical distinction may not seem that interesting to some, and confusing to others, it is a helpful truth to ponder in light of today’s Gospel.
Today’s Gospel tells us that failure to “eat the Flesh of the Son of Man and drink his Blood” results in death. Death is the loss of life, and the Eucharist is the source of life. Jesus says that if you fail to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood, “you do not have life within you.”
This bold teaching of Jesus should cause us to stop and examine our approach to the Most Holy Eucharist. Sometimes we can fall into the trap of thinking that going to Mass and receiving Communion is something we do as a “favor” to our Lord. But in truth, it’s God’s most profound favor to us, because the Eucharist is the gateway to eternal life. And without it, we have no life within us. Our spirits die because we lose the presence of God.
Looking at the negative effect of not receiving the Most Holy Eucharist can be very useful. Sometimes we need to consider the consequences of our actions as a way of motivating us to greater fidelity. For that reason, considering the fact that failure to eat the Flesh of the Son of God results in death should be very motivating. It should fill us with a holy fear of the loss of the life-giving presence of God within us. This “holy fear” is a true gift from God and is, in fact, one of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Reflect, today, upon your interior attitude toward the Most Holy Eucharist. Do you see your participation in the Holy Mass more as a favor you offer to our Lord? Or do you see it as it is: the life-giving source of eternal life? Reflect upon how important this precious gift truly is and recommit yourself to a faithful and devout participation in this most holy Gift.
My Eucharistic Lord, Your Flesh and Blood are truly the source of eternal life for all who receive You in faith. I thank You, dear Lord, for this most precious Gift of the Most Holy Eucharist, and I pray that I will be filled with a deep hunger and thirst for You always. Jesus, I trust in You.