By Fr. Dennis Chriszt, C.PP.S.
Eating human flesh and drinking human blood was just too much for most people to even consider. They couldn’t believe what Jesus was saying. It just seemed too preposterous. So, without much understanding of what he was really saying, they turned away.
We have thousands of years of experience of eating the Body of Christ and drinking his Precious Blood. It doesn’t shock us today. We know that his flesh is real food and his blood real drink, but we also know that this flesh and blood tastes like bread and wine. So it is easy for us to stay – easy for us to say, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”
That doesn’t mean that we are aren’t tempted to leave from time to time. Scandals in the Church can tempt us to think about leaving. People who do not live up to the values of the Gospel can cause such scandals. When such things happen, I’ve seen people leave. I’ve had people ask me, “Why do you stay?” And I answer the same way Simon Peter did. But I also add, “Where else would I go? We—the Church—alone have the Body and Blood of Christ!”
What led people to turn away from the Lord some two thousand years ago is precisely what keeps me here. No matter how imperfectly the Church preaches or lives Gospel values today, the Church alone has the Body and Blood of Christ to help me face my own sins, as well as the sins of others in the Church.
The Body and Blood of Christ bring mercy and hope to me and to millions of others who continue to say, “To whom shall we go? You alone have the words of eternal life! You alone feed us with your very Body and Blood! You alone provide us with abundant love, unbounded mercy, unimaginable hope!”
I have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord! That’s why I stay, what about you?
Fr. Dennis Chriszt, C.PP.S., is the director of interprovincial advanced formation for the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. He also directs Precious Blood Parish Missions (pbparishmissions.org).