He Who Believes

“Truly, truly I say to you, he who believes has eternal life” (Jn 6:47). Had the conversation stopped there, we would conclude that believing in Jesus was all that was necessary to gain eternal life. What more was necessary?  The “more” comes in last Sunday’s gospel, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever, and the bread that I will give is My flesh for the life of the world.” (Jn 6:51). This bold statement caused an argument to break out and many of Jesus’ disciples who were listening said, “This saying is hard; who can accept it?” That is this Sunday’s gospel background.

We are dealing with two different worlds here: the temporary world that eats the bread and drinks the wine, and the eternal world that eats the flesh and drinks the blood of Jesus. How do we, as humans in this temporary world, have a glimpse of the eternal world? By eating the body and blood of Christ on this earth. Eating the bread and drinking the wine, which is transformed into the flesh and blood of Christ, is like entering a time tunnel. The host that we receive is the entrance of the time tunnel, he who believes and enters will see the eternal world. The power to operate the time tunnel is provided by the Holy Spirit. If Jesus wanted us to believe in him and have eternal life as just a mental activity, He would not have said more, but he repeatedly spoke in John chapter six and the last supper in the other three gospels about eating the bread/flesh and drinking the wine/blood so as to have eternal life.

Besides the two different worlds we are talking about, there is a third world, a world which is falsely created, protected by us. For example, when people go to mass, they like to sit in the same place each week. When somebody has already occupied that space, they get very angry. This is the world they are familiar with and they won’t yield an inch for others. They expect the world to change for them. These people simply don’t have the desire to leave their own world and to be transformed to see the eternal world. Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless it is granted him by my Father”. To have that desire to come to Jesus, we must be willing to come out of our own world falsely created, protected by us. The real presence of Christ in the bread and wine requires us to be present in his eternal world and be absent in our own created world to give its meaning. If we refuse to do that, we will be just like many of Jesus’ disciples who returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him.

About Father Francis