Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood; you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever." He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
Cannibalism is truly disgusting to everyone except the cannibal himself. Eating your enemy is not a nice thought even if you are very hungry. There is something about being a cannibal that makes the rest of the world want to throw you to the dogs! So why on earth would Jesus say that what cannibals do with their enemy is what we as followers of Jesus must do with Him?
Frankly, I’m with the disciples when they said, “This is a hard teaching, who can accept it?” But, since Jesus Himself said it, let’s look at the teaching and see what it might mean for me.
When my mother would try and get me to “eat better” sometimes she would say, “You are what you eat.” I didn’t understand it as a small child, but truthfully the food that I put in my body does eventually become my body itself. It not only gives me energy, but it builds my bones and muscles and the cells in my brain. If I do not eat, my body will shrivel up and I will die. So the food that I eat becomes part of me.
So when Jesus said that we should eat His flesh and drink His blood was He telling us to cannibalize Him? Of course not! Jesus was saying that He must be the source of our strength and that every part of our lives must come from Him.
When a young man is in love his every thought has a footnote referencing the “love of his life.” She is truly his obsession. God has created man with the ability to focus his life on another person.
It is just what Jesus wants us to do with Him. Let Jesus be your breath, your food, your water, your waking, your sleeping, your resting, your working and your time at play. Let Jesus so consume your life that it is just as if you have consumed Him as food and drink.
That’s what the bread and wine in the “communion” is telling us. It is a hard teaching because we want to partake of Jesus and keep on eating the food provided by the world. You can be sure that mixing that diet will give you “Spiritual Nausea.”