The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”
You may know that the laws of Kashrut, or how to make and keep food Kosher, require all blood to be drained from the meat. The Blood is the life force and it is sacred to God. For the life of all flesh is in the blood. Therefore I said to the children of Israel: you shall not eat the blood of any flesh at all, because the life of the flesh is in the blood, and whosoever eateth it, shall be cut off. Leviticus 17:14
Jesus would have known that law. Would have know blood is not allowed, and eating human flesh? Never! We can be reasonably certain, therefore, that Jesus never would have said this, right? Someone made it up later to justify their liturgical life.
So the Sophists and game players would have us say. They reject the love of God given to us in the Mass because to accept it… they know: they have to accept the whole package. So they play games with the text. They make up their own mythologies about how the text came to be and why we can ignore it. Having eliminated all the texts they don’t like (moral teachings, miracles, etc) they are left with a politician who sounds remarkably like Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders: somewhat boring, left of center, and oddly anti-religious. The people who buy it are, themselves, remarkably like Barak Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Bernie Sanders: somewhat boring, left of center, and oddly anti-religious. Amusingly, the reverse is also true: it’s possible to edit the Bible in such a way as to end up with Donald Trump.
Neither side wants to admit that they are doing what the other side is also doing. Neither side can stand to look in a mirror. The Jesus Seminar is no better than Westboro Baptist Church: both equally fundamentalist, both equally committing idolatry before the mental ejaculations of their theological onanism.
They both reject the literal truth of today’s Gospel.
Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.
Here, at this table in the forms of bread and wine, is God himself; the very flesh of God, the very blood of Him who even now, in full ambient perichoresis with the Father and the Spirit, reigns in caelestium, terrestrium et infernorum, in heaven, on the earth, and in hell. Here, on this altar. Now.
Here, though you cannot see, the entirety of heaven sings in awe, the entirety of hell quakes in fear; angels on either side of you are in awe of our God and of you whom he has blessed to stand in his presence. Demons running in fear, turn in wonder to see you in flesh and blood come near.
Here are your loved ones gone before, here are those whom we would most dearly love to see also standing unseen with us. In this very moment all of heaven and earth, all of eternity and infinity, meet here.
All space and all time which cannot contain him, all universes, all eternities too small. Is here: in a bit of bread the size of a quarter, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
Can you see the humility of our God?
Can you bear the love of our God?
To lay flat and silent before all, to be chewed – the Greek says “gnawed” – like a child getting the last bit of Popsicle off a stick, or a man ripping the meat off of spare ribs.
This is our God.
We consumer our God.
Our God is a consuming fire.
This meal will not leave you alone.
You may come to it as you are.
But you may not leave it unchanged.
God will get into you. God will tear you limb from limb, passion from flesh, soul from body, spirit from will, and will remake you into his own lover, someone who cannot be without him, as a fish cannot be without water, as a song cannot be without air.
God will gnaw on you, will find the savor in you, will suck the very marrow of life from your old shell of death and will make you anew into the living members of his body.
Will become this bread
This meal consumes you.
You are what you eat.
And you will give yourself to others as living bread.
Wine will pour forth from your heart like love and all will come and drink.
Your life will be sacrificed so that they may live. You will discover love in you. Because God is in you and you in him.
Or, maybe Jesus never said this and we can all have sex, and die.