Jesus said to the crowd: “I am the Bread—living Bread!—who came down out of heaven. Anyone who eats this Bread will live—and forever! The Bread that I present to the world so that it can eat and live is myself, this flesh-and-blood self.”
At this, the Jews started fighting among themselves: “How can this man serve up his flesh for a meal?”
But Jesus didn’t give an inch. “Only insofar as you eat and drink flesh and blood, the flesh and blood of the Son of Man, do you have life within you. The one who brings a hearty appetite to this eating and drinking has eternal life and will be fit and ready for the Final Day. My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. By eating my flesh and drinking my blood you enter into me and I into you. In the same way that the fully alive Father sent me here and I live because of him, so the one who makes a meal of me lives because of me. This is the Bread from heaven. Your ancestors ate bread and later died. Whoever eats this Bread will live always.”
The body and blood of Jesus is the life of the Lord, ‘given to us’. This gift is for all times. At scenes where Jesus feeds the people in the gospel, much is always left over. This is a sign of wanting to give his love for the life of the world for all time. This life, to death and resurrection, is commemorated in a real way at every Mass.
When a priest or minister gives communion, we are aware of the special moment this is for so many people. It is a moment of asking for help in life, for peace of mind, for the presence of the Lord. At a time of illness or bereavement we may recall the lift of grace when communion was brought to us. On our side it is our promise also to being the Lord in different ways of love in our own lives.