Christ’s Body and Blood

Lent Day 44 – Christ’s Body and Blood

by Fr. Robert Barron

The central and still startling claim of the Catholic Church is that Jesus is really, truly, and substantially present under the forms of bread and wine. His presence is not simply evocative and symbolic, not simply the result of our thinking so or wishing so, but rather real, true, and substantial.

If you want to find this verified scripturally, look of course at the accounts of the Last Supper in Matthew, Mark, and Luke—and also in Paul. But look especially at the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. Jesus identifies himself as the “living bread come down from heaven,” and then he specifies, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

Now this was extremely objectionable language for a Jew of Jesus’ time. To eat someone’s flesh was a term of contempt. More to it, the drinking of an animal’s blood was expressly forbidden throughout the Old Testament—much less the drinking of a man’s blood. But when Jesus’ listeners object, Jesus does not soften his language—he intensifies it: “My flesh is real food and my blood real drink.”

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