Is that bread and wine REALLY Jesus' body and blood?
It can be a little surprising when we think about it, to consider what the Catholic Church teaches about the Eucharist, that is Holy Communion, that is the bread and wine at mass, or what they turn in to.
The Catholic Church teaches that this piece of bread and cup of wine are JESUS, his body, his blood, LITERALLY.
When we learn about this in grade 2, we're usually okay with it, but as we get older, we start to think, "Now wait a minute. Jesus flesh and blood? Are you serious?"
Some people think we're crazy. That we would worship a piece of bread, that frankly, doesn't even look much like bread - looks a bit more like a poker chip. But physically and chemically, its bread - flour and water mixed together.
So how in the world can we say its Jesus, REALLY? If we look at the "bread of life" under a microscope, we aren't going to see skin cells. If we look at the "precious blood" under a microscope, we aren't going to see red and white corpuscles.
But its Jesus. That's what I believe. Basically its that Jesus turned himself into FOOD - so that the bread and wine are no longer merely bread and wine, they have "substantially" changed into Jesus.
We say its the "Sacramental" presence of Jesus. That means Jesus is really there, but not in a normal physical way. It means that the bread and wine, while being Jesus, also show us how beyond our ability to conceive of Jesus he is.
But that's technical. For now I just want to deal with - is it REALLY Jesus?
Seems impossible, right? Well, yes, it is impossible, of course. And so is Jesus resurrection from the dead, and his miracles, and his being born of a virgin, and a whole bunch of other things. If God is involved, if we believe in God, and if Jesus is really God's Son, then Jesus can certainly turn himself into bread and wine.
So the question is not "can Jesus" be the bread and wine. The question is, WOULD HE?
Would Jesus make himself our food? Does Jesus love us that much? Is he willing to make himself so vulnerable, so close to us, that he would become the Eucharist?
I think the cross answers this question.
The important thing, or course, is what Jesus allows himself to become. Food. Why food? Why not something more permanent like a rock or a tree or a mountain?
Because, we eat food. Because as food, Jesus can physically, sacramentally, become part of us. Because food gives us life.
Which is what the cross does. It gives us life.
So is that little piece of bread and cup of wine at Church really Jesus?
I believe it is, because I believe that God loves us that much.
Because I believe that God is love.