June 17, 2022
Reflection – Spiritual Food for the Body of Christ
Just as there is food for our bodies, there is spiritual food for the body of Christ. Jesus did many things that, in the beginning, perplexed those who were called to follow him. He washed their feet. He told them to love one another. He demonstrated that love by being available even when he was already exhausted. He associated with sinners. He offered his body on the cross. And he explained one of the great mysteries of faith, that his flesh and blood were true food, food of a spiritual nature, food that they were to eat and drink, food that must be consumed.
This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. John 6:50
When Jesus invited his disciples to eat his flesh and drink his blood, it gave cause, as it does even today, for many to say, “Who can accept it?” (John 6:60). Even when we understand its spiritual nature, it is a challenge to any of us who would be his followers. Instinctively we know it means becoming one with his very own way of life. It means sharing in his suffering and death so as to share also in his glory. It means becoming a member of the “body of Christ,” of which Jesus is the head.
But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day. John 6:54
Regardless of our perspective of this challenge, to eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood becomes a defining acceptance of who we are in his image. Clearly, to eat Christ’s flesh and drink his blood should not be viewed as some form of cannibalism. That perspective caused many to reject the witness of the early Christians. And it also became a cause for great persecution. Rather, it means entering each day anew into his self-giving love in a world where self-interest and self-preservation are the dominant approaches to life. As Christians, we are all called to discern daily what it means to be followers of Christ, to be persons of love and peace and prayer so that we are able to live into that fullness of the life to which we are called, to be one with Christ, God’s very own beloved sons and daughters.
And this underpins our continuing the tradition of the earliest Christians who, after being baptized on the day of Pentecost, “…devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts 2:42).
Blessings and peace,
1. Reflection by Fr. Michael Casagram, Prior of the Trappist Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, May 9, 2022
2. Acts 9:31-42, John 6:48-69.
Disclaimer statement: Please note that the opinions expressed herein are those of the Chaplain alone and are based on his personal understanding of scripture and how God works in our lives.
Read more Reflections: Chaplain’s Corner