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Thursday, January 9, 2003

Dying: The Way to Eternal Life

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.
John 6:53-54

As Catholics, we believe that Jesus was speaking literally about us eating his body and drinking his blood in the Eucharist. This is why, the Eucharist is central in the life of a Christian. It is the apex of worship and it is where the divine meets the human.

Does this mean then that we can just walk up the aisle and receive the Eucharist any time, even if we are in the state of sin? St. Paul tells us clearly that:
Everyone is to recollect himself before eating this bread and drinking this cup; because a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the Body is eating and drinking his own condemnation. In fact, that is why many of you are weak and ill and some of you have died.1 Corinthians 11:27-30

This shows that we need to examine ourselves BEFORE we go to communion. The Body and Blood of our Lord is to be received properly. How are we then to receive the Lord?

Somewhere earlier in the discourse of Jesus, he said,
He who comes to me will never be hungry He who believes in me will never be thirsty
John 6:35

To receive Jesus in the Eucharist, we need to come to him AND believe in him. This is THE way to eternal life. Unless we come to Jesus AND believe in him, we will die.
What does it mean to come to Jesus?

John 6:45 says, “It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God, and to hear the teaching of the Father, and learn from it is to come to me.

So, to come to Jesus is to hear the teaching of the Father and learn from it. We cannot come to Jesus IF we do not accept his teachings. We cannot come to Jesus if we are proud. BUT, we come to Jesus when we humble ourselves to see that we are sinners. In her diary, Jesus told St. Faustina that the greater the sinner, the more the sinner has a right to the mercy of God.

It struck me that as sinners, the only right we have to God is to seek his Mercy! It is not an invitation but we have a right to it. We can claim it. And it is this Divine Mercy that will give us eternal life.

This comes to the second point of believing in Jesus. Not surprisingly, the caption of the Divine Mercy picture is “Jesus, I trust in You”.

This is what it means to believe in Jesus: to trust in his Mercy. To throw our whole selves to him. To DIE to ourselves so that Jesus may live in us.

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