The very first day Jesus proclaimed, “This bread is My flesh which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn 6:51), many disciples went away grumbling, “this is a hard saying. Who can accept it?” (Jn 6:60). Jesus’ response was not to soften or retract His statement, but on the contrary, He reiterated explicitly that His flesh was “real food” and His blood “real drink” (Jn 6:56). With their God-given free will, “many of His disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied Him.” (Jn 6:56).
Deepen your understanding with this excerpt from Echoing the Mystery Unlocking the Deposit of Faith in Catechesis
Turning immediately to His closest twelve, He asked “You do not want to leave too, do you?” (Jn 6:67). Peter gave his famous all-in response of faith: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that You are the Holy One of God” (Jn 6:69).
The Holy One of God! Peter embraced Jesus’ words without understanding the mystery, joyfully accepting them with faith, hope and love. Peter didn’t need to understand perfectly because he had witnessed three years of Jesus’ trustworthiness: countless healings, expulsions of demons, raising the dead to life, and supernatural control over the elements. So convinced was Peter of Jesus’ divinity and continued efficacious presence in his life after the Ascension, that Peter lived the rest of his days faithful to Jesus’ teaching on the Eucharist and, years later, died a martyr’s death rather than deny what he had seen, heard, and believed.
Belief in the Eucharist is a precious gift to which we respond in faith. May we open our hearts in a special way this year as we celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi in Latin) on Sunday, June 19th. Let us join St. Peter, the Apostles, and millions of Christians through the ages in embracing with deep faith, the wondrous, unfathomable Presence of Jesus hidden among us with such love under the appearances of bread and wine.
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