Let whoever is simple turn in here; To the one who lacks understanding, she says, Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed! Forsake foolishness that you may live; advance in the way of understanding.”(Proverbs 9)
Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. (Psalm 34)
“Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. (John 6)
“I am in an intimate relationship…” conjures up many connotations. In such a relationship–the people involved know each other better than anyone else. There is a vulnerability not found in any other relationship.
I am in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.” What does that conjure up for you? Are you in an intimate relationship with Jesus or just acquaintances? Someone who you tell your deepest secrets or are completely vulnerable to? Or, someone you acknowledge with a head nod or smile on the street or grocery aisle?
This past Sunday’s readings encourage us to take a long hard look at our relationship with Jesus. He calls us to “munch and crunch” on his flesh and blood –like animals devour their food. Quite the image, isn’t it? What is Jesus trying to tell us in such graphic words? Relationship with Jesus isn’t just a half way thing, not just little nibbles, wholeheartedly taking in Jesus entirely–being as close to Jesus as one possibly could be–eating and drinking flesh and blood–nothing more intimate than that.
In real life terms what does that mean for us? Most everyone knows the phrase “You are what you eat.” Same thing applies here. If we claim to be followers of Jesus–we need to have Jesus live within us–be us. The Eucharist is one very physical way in which we can be intimately connected to Jesus–and then share Jesus with others.
Jesus calls us to be intimately connected to him. Can we do that? Do we fully understand what he is wanting to be with us? The next time you approach the altar for communion take time to think about what you are about to do. Think about the intimate relationship you are entering as you receive the body and blood of Christ, as you move away and back to your place in the assembly. How is Jesus going to live in me and through me as I pray and go out into the world in my everyday interactions.
You are entering into a most intimate relationship with Jesus. You are pledging to be as Jesus. Selfless, loving, forgiving, kind, and so on. You are carrying Jesus within you to the world. You are carrying Jesus and sharing Jesus with others as you interact with those who are difficult to love and understand, who are politically at odds with you, who have hurt you and others. What an awesome connection and daunting task!! Thank God that as Jesus lives in us–imperfect people. He remains true to himself and strengthens us to be the best we can be in each moment. And when we fail? He is ready to forgive and to love and to start over again.
Isn’t that what an intimate relationship is? Love no matter what. Holding up the other when they are weak, ready to forgive and begin again?