The Truth About the Food

Week of August 16, 2015

In the Gospel of John we find ourselves in the midst of what we call the Bread of Life Discourse. John’s Gospel is the last one written chronologically and because of this, it addresses issues that needed to be emphasized in early biblical times. The early Church about 100 years after the death of Jesus wants to make sure everyone realizes two major things we know: Jesus is the Son of God; and the Eucharist is real food—His Body and Blood. This week we hear that Jesus says my body is true food, my blood is true drink. The truth of this food is that what we celebrate is not a symbol, it is real. The truth about this food is that its origin is in heaven, because Jesus came down from heaven to save us. The truth about this food is that whoever eats it has life eternal. When we try to wrap our heads around this mystery, we embrace what is most fundamental about us being Catholic. We believe that this is true food. We believe that what takes place on the altar, over which we have no control, is that bread becomes the Body of Christ and wine becomes the Blood of Christ. This event of consecration comes from God’s love for us and His desire to be with us. It is food for the journey; it is a gift that is given to us when heaven and earth are united.

So often we see labels on food. Some labels say, “Fresh”. What is the definition of fresh? Is it two days old or was it picked just this morning? Was it caught in the sea and never frozen? Other labels say “Organic”. What does organic really mean? Is it the same definition for organic vegetables as it is for fruits? There is a lot of advertising about vitamins and drugs which invites us to change our lives and the way we feel. Is everything they claim real? When we enter the church, we come to celebrate true food. We come to consume the precious Body and Blood of Christ. We come to take part in something that is true. This food goes beyond the labels. When we say “Amen”, we say we believe the truth about this food. As a Eucharistic community, we are invited to embrace all that God is offering to us.

The truth about this food is that it is the Body and Blood of Jesus, not a symbol of it, but the real thing. Blessed are we who are invited to this meal.

Rev. John J. Ouper