In today's world where Christianity has become so politicized, cliched, commercialized, sanitized, and comfortable it is all too easy to assume we know what it's all about.
We assume Christianity is simply a comfort to the masses, an excuse to push political theories, simple platitudes for us all to "be nice." We've forgotten that Christianity is radical, revolutionary, and completely transforms humanity in a real, metaphysical, and cosmic way.
Nowhere are the words of Jesus so unique, so game-changing, and so seemingly crazy as in His bread of life discourse from the Gospel of John. (John 6:41-51)
Here Jesus extols the Jews with this idea that you have to eat the bread come down from Heaven in order to have eternal life. He goes even further saying the He Himself is the bread of life. If you were a Jew listening to a man standing in front of you saying that he is the bread of heaven which you must eat to gain eternal life, wouldn't you think he was pretty crazy?
To many converts to the faith, this Scripture explaining the Holy Eucharist has been a huge stumbling block. And to those of us who are cradle Catholics, we probably have simply glanced over these passages without realizing how revolutionary this idea really is.
No other person of any other religion has made such claims as Jesus does here. There was no precedent to a person saying something like this that would have rang familiar to the ears of the Jewish people who heard Jesus speak. This is something so important, so vital, to the salvation history of the world, and the salvation of your soul and mine, that we can't gloss over how radical it may sound. We need to let this mystery, this seemingly crazy idea soak into our hearts: this Bread is the source of our eternal life.
I bet it will take our entire lives of faith to even begin to understand what it means for us, and for the world. And that's okay, because Christianity isn't a neat, easy, and comfortable faith. It's a faith of mystery, transformation, and most shocking of all, eternal salvation.
Pause for moment today to consider Jesus as Bread from Heaven. Jesus in the Eucharist is fully here, fully given to us, fully our salvation. Lord, help our faith grow in light of your Truth.
Christy Isinger is a wife and mom to five lovely, loud children and lives in northern Canada. When not homeschooling, she is a devoted reader of English literature from Jane Austen to Agatha Christie. She writes about the beauty of faith, life, and the home at her blog and is the co-host of the Fountains of Carrots Podcast. You can find out more about her here. She is the author of our Blessed Conversations: The Ten Commandments study found here.