Painting by Mary Jane Miller,
Painted in 2013,
Egg tempera on panel
© Mary Jane Miller artist

Painting by Mary Jane Miller,
Painted in 2013,
Egg tempera on panel
© Mary Jane Miller artist

Gospel of 6 May 2022

My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink

John 6:52-59

The Jews started arguing with one another: ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ they said. Jesus replied:

‘I tell you most solemnly, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you will not have life in you.

Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise him up on the last day.

For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in him. As I, who am sent by the living Father, myself draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me.

This is the bread come down from heaven; not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live for ever.’

He taught this doctrine at Capernaum, in the synagogue.

Reflection on the icon

In our reading today, Jesus is saying ‘my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink’. Our painting by Mary Jane Miller was painted in 2013, in the ancient Byzantine tradition of applying egg tempera on panel. This sacramental image depicts the Holy Eucharist. The host is lifted with both hands above a silver chalice, in front of the Book of the Gospels. This one image depicts the Word of God, the Body and the Blood of Christ... the core of our faith.

We have to remember when reading today’s passage that Jesus’ words would have been very shocking at the time. The realism of his talk about eating his flesh and drinking his blood would have been deeply offensive to some people. But this is exactly the language of the Eucharist. We do consume Christ. We do eat his body and blood in a very intimate way, to make him part of ourselves. By doing so, we accept all that he stands for, all that he wants of us, and imitate his love.

Just as Jesus was always in communion with his Father, so he wants us to be always in communion with him, through the Eucharist.

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  • Patricia O'Brien says:

    Mysterious painting – but then the Eucharist is a mystery…

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