Defending the Faith of our Fathers!

Christ's Faithful People

 

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INTRODUCTION

There has been a lot of discussion about John 6 among both Catholics and Protestants. Many Protestants disagree that John is talking about the Eucharist in John 6. Rather, they say that any implications Jesus made about eating His flesh and drinking His blood are only symbolic. Many Protestants make the claim that Jesus’ words are spirit and life and not eating His flesh and drinking His blood. Protestant theologian Francis Moore says,

Since there is no hint of anyone being scandalized in the Upper Room or in the Christian group in Corinth by the words of institution, we may take it for granted that no one supposed that in partaking of the bread and wine they were eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Jesus.[1]

Other Protestant theologians quote Jn 6:64, "The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life," to show that it is only Jesus’ words that are Spirit and Life. They deny the reality of Jesus’ flesh and blood as real food and real drink. But when we look at what the words really say, we find that it is what is meant by the words that are spirit and life and not just the words themselves.

There is no Eucharistic institution in the Gospel of John, but in Jn 6:1-71 we can detect a perfect Eucharistic catechesis in 3 stages:[2]

a) material bodily hunger (cf. the multiplication of loaves);

b) spiritual hunger for Jesus (cf. the discourse of revelation on the ‘Bread of Life’);

c) sacramental hunger for Jesus (cf. the Eucharistic Revelation);

These are 3 progressive Eucharisitic prophecies (Jn 6:27; 6:51c; 6:53) where we find future tenses with a special reference to the Last Supper and Jesus’ Passion.[3] I will show these connections in the discussion about the Passover in John.

According to some Protestant scholars, there is no sacramental sense of John 6. They say that it is only metaphorical in its content and that Catholic scholars are trying to make the scriptures fit into their own belief system. As most Catholic scholars point out, there is a sacramental sense in John and it can be seen in Chapter 6 of his Gospel. We observe that there is a sacramental sense to the Eucharist through John’s use of Semitic phrases. In his Gospel he conveys the idea of both Christ's divinity and Christ's humanity using Semitic terminology. First, we will take a look at the Semitic ideas of "flesh" and "blood" in John 6 and the Old Testament.

 

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