The Jewish Synagogue in Capernaum where Jesus gave his sermon on eating His Body and Drinking His Blood (John 6:52-59) in today’s Gospel.
I was sitting in mass this morning listening to the fascinating account of Paul’s conversion (Act 9: 1-20) and I thought of my own conversion story that happened about 44 years ago. I then proclaimed the Gospel where Jesus tells us that we MUST eat His flesh and drink His blood (John 6:52-59) to have LIFE within us. As I read that Gospel, thoughts of my own conversion became so very vivid. I would like to share some of those thoughts with you now. This is certainly a brief testimony; there are so many other details to it. Those are for another time.
I was raised as a Methodist and we celebrated “Communion Sunday” one time per month. We all received cut up squares of white bread and drank small, shot sized, glasses of grape juice. We were taught that we did this because Jesus wanted us to remember what He did at the last supper. I really didn’t think much about this, but liked “Communion Sunday” because the sermon was always shorter. I did drift away from that church, and from God, during my college years. I married a Catholic girl and would occasionally attend mass with her, but without much thought about the mass, I thought more about going out to breakfast afterwards. Many things happened that caused me to be in somewhat of a “funk”, and through a series of interesting events (miracles) my wife and I were invited to go to a Life in the Spirit Seminar. At the time, I wasn’t sure what made me say yes to going. Today I know that it was God’s Spirit that led me there. We attended the Seminar and things began changing, for the good, in my life and in my relationship to my wife. On the fifth week of the Seminar, we were prayed over for the “Baptism of the Holy Spirit”. My life hasn’t been the same since. Everything seemed to take on new meaning. I was especially moved by the Bible and began reading it and praying with it at every possible chance. This new found relationship with Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit brought new life to the scriptures for me. I was especially drawn to the Gospel of John. So many times in that Gospel, Jesus talks about being the Bread of Life. I read the Gospel mentioned above and thought that it was VERY clear that Jesus wanted us to do more than just remember the Last Supper. He very clearly told us that we must eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood. I found the same thoughts in other Gospels and in Paul’s letters. The only church that I knew that taught this was the Catholic Church. I am a person who has to research everything, so I began getting out Church documents such as Vatican II documents. As a person who also loves history, I also began reading early Church history and began to devour information on the early Church fathers. It was very clear to me that the Catholic Church in its beginnings and today followed Jesus in teaching what He taught. It was also very clear that what the Church taught today was essentially identical to what it lived out in its very beginning, from the time of the Apostles in to the later centuries. There was no doubt that Jesus instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper and wanted us to continue that, through the Church that He had established. I had found the source for my being able to do what Jesus taught, to eat His Body and drink His Blood. I went to my local pastor and He brought me in to an RCIA program and then brought me in to His Church. I am a daily communicant, and I fully believe that each day I eat His Body and drink His blood and have LIFE because of Jesus. God is so good.