From Our Pastor: The Bread of Life Discourse
The next few weeks of Gospels comes from John chapter 6. This is one of my favorite passages of the Bible. John chapter 6 is called the Bread of Life discourse. I believe it is the greatest explanation of the real presence and Eucharistic theology in the Gospel. This passage is often overlooked purposefully by our protestant friends.
One of my friends who is a protestant minister told me that when they got to the Gospel of John chapter 6, he was told by his professors that it wasn't important and encouraged them to just "gloss over it." Multiple protestant ministers now turned Catholic were told the same during their studies.
What makes this passage so important for Catholics, and not important for protestants? This passage explains very clearly that Jesus isn't giving us bread and wine to eat, but instead His Body and Blood. This is very significant for us, but impossible to justify for protestants who do not believe in the real presence. The saddest reality is that recent pew polls say that up to 70% of Church going Catholics do not believe in the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. This is astounding to me.
I truly encourage you to open your hearts to the real presence of Jesus Christ. I encourage you each Sunday to read the Gospel passage for each Sunday, but especially during these multiple weeks reading of the Bread of Life Discourse. If you do not believe in the real presence, or just struggle with it, please take the time to delve into these readings. Then open your heart to see Jesus in the Eucharist.
If you need a good book on the Eucharist and how we come to believe what we do, read The Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Dr. Brant Pitre. It is one of my all-time favorite books, and truly life changing in understanding the Eucharist and the real presence.
May the Lord Jesus Christ — truly present Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity — make Himself known to you in this real and tangible way. Open your hearts to him.
Rev. Steven Arisman