A Spanish silver-gilt chalice,
Burgos, Spain, made in 1549,
conical bowl engraved 'SANGUIS MEUS VERE EST POTUS,'
© Victoria & Albert Museum, London

A Spanish silver-gilt chalice,
Burgos, Spain, made in 1549,
conical bowl engraved 'SANGUIS MEUS VERE EST POTUS,'
© Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Gospel of 19 April 2024

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 chalice

The question the Jews ask in this morning’s Gospel reading - ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’- is an understandable one. The language Jesus had used about eating his flesh was shocking. After the question Jesus went on to speak not only of eating his flesh but of drinking his blood, which would have sounded even more shocking. Yet, it is language which expresses the depth of communion which Jesus wants to create between himself and his disciples, the theme of the Gospel readings this week.

If we therefore truly believe that the blood of Christ is real, we want to use the most beautiful of receptacles to hold this blood: a chalice. It is generally believed that the first chalices were made of wood and it was not till the recognition of christianity in the early 4th century in the Roman Empire that silver and gold became the more standard materials for the chalice. The very best of materials to hold the most precious blood. Throughout the ages, additions of semi-precious stones, engravings, enamelling and any further embellishments have given chalices a major part in the history of ecclesiastical art and always reflected contemporary tastes and stylistic eras.

The Spanish chalice shown here has a conical bowl engraved 'SANGUIS MEUS VERE EST POTUS': 'My blood is truly a libation'. The spectacular looking stem is inset with four square rock crystals. Rock crystal is the purest variety of quartz and is transparent and completely colourless. Remember that these vessels would have stood out even more in churches when candlelight was the only sourced of light. The gold and silver would have been noticeable  from the very back of the church, thus accentuating the very centre of the Eucharist, especially when being held aloft by the priest during the moment of consecration.

'SANGUIS MEUS VERE EST POTUS', My blood is truly a libation, my blood truly is real drink.

Share this Gospel Reading

Did you like this Gospel reading and art reflection?

Join in the discussion about this artwork & Gospel reading

Subscribe
Notify of
23 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Barbara Bjelland
Member
Barbara Bjelland
1 month ago

Thank you for another lovely reflection, and for reminding us how shocking Christ’s words are. We do need to “wake from slumber” or be “shocked” to follow Christ in the new life he gives us through his body and blood. Imagining the candlelight reminds me that the Eucharist is a liminal space where heaven comes to earth and we ascend with Christ to the heavenly realms.

Rya Lucas
Member
Rya Lucas
1 month ago

What a beautiful chalice, dignified to contain the holy Blood of Jesus. Nowadays the chalices are more simple, but always made of a noble metal, gold or silver. Recently I read a story of a little boy who asked why the priest did the washing up during the Mass. Children and their questions… I smiled reading it.
When I was a child I could not see what the priest was doing at the altar… I looked at his back… I did not understand what he was doing. Sometimes I think that the people in the church were unimportant in contrast to nowadays…
We, the people, are the CHURCH. Jesus loves US, not a church of stones, not rules and laws, made by men who think that they are ‘the church’. I have not been in church over fifty years… but I am baptised catholic and I will always be a catholic. So I ‘came back’ and try to learn all things that I thought I was forgotten…but nothing is less true; I remember almost everything. except the names of the cloth of a priest.. and that is less important.
In my youth the masses were in Latin… you never forget. A few weeks ago I was with some catholics and one of them starts singing ‘Salve Regina’… I knew all the words in Latin and it was so fantastic to sing this song with ten of more … it was an homage to Maria.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Rya Lucas

So you were away from the church for 50 years Rya and then came back and now go to church again? I too was away from the church for many years but once a Catholic, always a Catholic they say!

Rya Lucas
Member
Rya Lucas
1 month ago
Reply to  Chazbo M

I know. I remember that you told that earlier. And yes, indeed: once a Catholic, always a Catholic. On 6th of May 2002 a new politician (he was homo) in the Netherlands -my country- was murdered. I read an interview with him, shortly before he was shot in his head and a question was: “Are you still a Catholic?”. He answered: “Yes, of course. I was catholic baptised , so I will always be a Catholic.”
How happy are we that we, after so many years, are back in the Mother Church.

Chazbo M
Member
Chazbo M
1 month ago
Reply to  Rya Lucas

How happy we are!!!

Readings related to John 6:52-59

17 April 2021

John 6:16-21

It is I. Do not be afraid.

17 April 2024

John 6:35-40

Whoever believes in the Son shall have eternal ...

2 May 2020

John 6:60-69

Lord, who shall we go to?

24 April 2021

John 6:60-69

Many of the disciples left Jesus

Join our community

In addition to receiving our Daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection, signing up for a free membership allows you to: 

The mission of Christian Art is to offer a daily Gospel Reading paired with a related work of art and a short reflection. Our goal is to help people grow closer to God through the magnificent pairing of art and the Christian faith.

CONNECT WITH US

Join over 70,000 people who receive our daily Gospel Reading and Art Reflection

Skip to content