Question about John 6:53


#1

I am a faithful Catholic and believe in the Real Presence with all my heart. John 6 is one of the main passages that describes the truth of the Real Presence. However, I have trouble understanding John 6:53 in the context of the world and would like help to figure out the implications.

Here is the verse:

*"So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;…” *(RSV-CE)

How can one be saved without having life in them and how can anyone have life in them if they do not receive the Eucharist?


#2

I can only give my opinion and its probably not worth the usual 2 cents!

There are four things that stand out in John 6; faith, bread, flesh and eternal life and all four of these things are all connected to one another. We must have faith and believe that Jesus is who or what he says He is…the Bread of Life, we must also believe that this Bread is His flesh and that by eating His flesh (Bread of Life) we will live forever! If we do not believe these things and do not eat His flesh then we do not recieve eternal life!

This is why the Church tells us that we must recieve the Eucharist at least once a year. Those that were present heard this teaching straight from Jesus’ mouth, those that came after heard it from His Church and those who are separated from His Church do not hear it at all. I do not believe all non Catholics are going to hell because they dont receive the Eucharist, most of them especially today will hopefully be covered by invincible ignorance.

But Jesus’ message is quite clear, by eating His flesh we receive Him who is the Bread of Life; He abides in us and we in Him and just as His body rose to heaven, He in turn will raise our bodies on the last day! After all when we receive Communion we united with His body and His body includes all the faithful so it only makes sense that where His body goes so will the mystical body.


#3

Just my opinion…but I think he means Eternal Life…afterall…life on this earth is nothing…we are all seeking eternal life with Christ after we die.

[quote=TPJCatholic]I am a faithful Catholic and believe in the Real Presence with all my heart. John 6 is one of the main passages that describes the truth of the Real Presence. However, I have trouble understanding John 6:53 in the context of the world and would like help to figure out the implications.

Here is the verse:

"So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;…" (RSV-CE)

How can one be saved without having life in them and how can anyone have life in them if they do not receive the Eucharist?
[/quote]


#4

My problem/question comes down to this:

Isn’t this verse basically declaring that ALL people must be Catholic and must receive the Lord in the Eucharist if they want life?


#5

[quote=TPJCatholic]My problem/question comes down to this:

Isn’t this verse basically declaring that ALL people must be Catholic and must receive the Lord in the Eucharist if they want life?
[/quote]

its a hard saying isnt it? who could listen to it? can you understand why the Jews murmured among themselves when they heard it? do you take offense at this?

John 6:64 *But there are some of you that do not believe." For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that would betray him. *


#6

martino,

I do believe it. My point is that I think it is far more important and far more wide reaching then most Catholics/Christians/people think. Jesus was quite clear, we eat His flesh and drink His blood or we have no life in us…Jesus did not say this only applies to Catholics.


#7

right, the implications are enormous!! but you said that this verse causes you problems…did you only mean problems in dealing with the possible implications for non Catholics?

like is said in my earlier post, i believe that a great many protestants have been mislead by the earlier reformers, and in my mind its the earlier reformers that would be held more culpable for misleading so many than will the masses that were mislead! i believe in invincible ignorance but i cant be sure exactly how it applies to todays protestants. my only hope is that they will be covered by it.

it reminds me how badly we need to get the word out, ya know?


#8

I would think you could say the same thing about this teaching that you would say about all non-Catholics and non-Christians and Catholicism in general- if they are granted enough grace from God to see the truth of the Eucharist in this lifetime and they reject it, then they cannot be saved. But if they strive as best they can to pursue truth and a knowledge of their Creator, and all that He wants of them in their lives but they still fall short of being able to accept Catholicism, such as some tribal indian in the Amazon for example who never gets exposure to Christianity (with emphasis of course on the Real Presence in the Eucharist), then there still is the possibility for them to be saved.


#9

But don’t we become ‘partakers of the divine nature’ and receive the Holy Spirit (‘life’) when we are baptized ? I’m confused too by this verse, when it says we ‘have* no* life’ - especially if we acknowledge it’s not our earthly life but spiritual/eternal life. This seems to contradict the effects of baptism?


#10

martino,

Yes, problems with the fact that non-Catholics do not understand this clear passage.


#11

Elzee,

We can walk away from our baptismal graces.


#12

Collegekid,

Yet, when the people–during the Bread of Life discourse–walked away from Jesus, He did call to them to come back to Him. Jesus certainly acted like He meant what He said.


#13

I presume most protestants still have those verses in their Bibles? Then they are not “invincibly ignorant”. It’s right there in black and white. They are so into rejecting that they even reject their own founders. This statement is just about as clear as scripture ever gets, yet they reject it at their own peril.


#14

i had this question once too and had it explained to me like this

the Lord Himself proclaims that baptism is necessary for salvation (Jn 3:5) however this does not mean that all the unbaptized (sacramental water baptism) are not saved. God has bound salvation to the sacrament of baptism but He Himself is not bound by His sacraments (ccc 1257)

so seeing as how there are different types of baptism; blood, desire, implicit desire which can confer the grace of salvation i think the same principles apply


#15

[quote=TPJCatholic]Elzee,

We can walk away from our baptismal graces.
[/quote]

True, but you can’t (aren’t supposed to) receive Our Lord in the Eucharist* unless you are in a state of grace - the Eucharist does not restore you to that state. * This means if you *have *walked away from your baptismal graces (lost sanctifying grace) you are supposed to regain that BEFORE receiving the Eucharist by Confession. So, receiving the Eucharist in mortal sin would not place you back in the state of grace if you had ‘walked away’. Or, as Father Larry Richards says, the ‘Bread of Life’ becomes the ‘Bread of Death’ - meaning, you have received unworthily and it’s a sacrilege.


#16

Elzee,

I agree completely. Yet, your points simply support my case… :slight_smile:


#17

spotty,

Yes, you make good points. Yet, if one does not even desire to receive the Lord, then what?


#18

[quote=TPJCatholic]My problem/question comes down to this:

Isn’t this verse basically declaring that ALL people must be Catholic and must receive the Lord in the Eucharist if they want life?
[/quote]

What it comes down to is deciding what it means to say that reception of the Eucharist is necessary to have eternal life.

Again, in relation to the means necessary to salvation theologians divide necessity into necessity of means and necessity of precept. In the first case the means is so necessary to salvation that without it (absolute necessity) or its substitute (relative necessity), even if the omission is guiltless, the end cannot be reached. Thus faith and baptism of water are necessary by a necessity of means, the former absolutely, the latter relatively, for salvation. In the second case, necessity is based on a positive precept, commanding something the omission of which, unless culpable, does not absolutely prevent the reaching of the end.

The Catholic Encyclopedia

I believe it must be argued that reception of the Eucharist is a necessity of precept rather than a necessity of means.

Justin


#19

Here’s my take on it.

"“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;
he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”

First, the underlined text is directed at His audience. That is, it is directed at those to whom Christ has revealed the truth of the Eucharist.

Then, the bolded text is directed at everybody. That is, Christ does not then say “if you eat my flesh and drink my blood you will have eternal life”. Instead, He makes a general statement about any person.

So we now have three groups:

  1. Those to whom the truth of the Eucharist has been revealed, and who have rejected it. They have no life.

  2. Those to whom the truth of the Eucharist has been revealed, and who have accepted it (and who, ref. Paul, eat and drink worthily). It is they who are spoken of, that “who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” For of course, the truth of the Eucharist must have been revealed to them, and they must have accepted it, to be described as one who eats His flesh and drinks His blood.

  3. Those to whom the truth of the Eucharist has not been revealed. John 6 says nothing about them.


#20

[quote=TPJCatholic]Collegekid,

Yet, when the people–during the Bread of Life discourse–walked away from Jesus, He did call to them to come back to Him. Jesus certainly acted like He meant what He said.
[/quote]

He did call back to them? I thought He didn’t. Anyway, I would say those people who walked away, regardless of whether or not He called them back, would qualify as those who have the truth revealed to them and reject it.


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