John 6:53-56. 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; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
This is the beginning of understanding Holy Communion which was instituted at the Last Supper (Matt 26:26, Mk 15:22-24, Luke 22:19-20).
Communion is the celebration of the Eucharist when we consume the body and blood of Christ. It looks like bread and wine, however during mass it is transformed into the body and blood of Christ. This is the central celebration of the Catholic Church.
1 Cor 11:27-30. Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill and some have died.
Because the Eucharist is not a symbol, but really the body and blood of Christ, it has power. This entails responsibility for us. Because non-Catholics do not understand the power of the Eucharist and the sanctity with which we should approach the altar, they are not prepared to accept the responsibility that the Eucharist entails. In other words, if you do not understand what you eat, you cant possibly understand the ramifications of eating it. The Church is protecting you from the inevitable judgment that is so severe that some have died. Thats the power and holiness of God. In 1 Cor 10:15-17. I speak as to sensible men: judge for yourselves what I have to say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
InJohn, Chapter 6:At the beginning of the chapter, Jesus demonstrated the feeding of the body by the multiplication of the loaves and fishes, and the filling of five thousand people. Starting with verse 22 through the end, He told us we need spiritual nourishment for our souls as well.
In verses 26-27 He said, "...you seek Me, not because you have seen signs, but because you have eaten of the loaves and have been filled. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for that which endures unto life everlasting, which the Son of Man will give you."
How can nothing more than crackers and grape juice fulfill these verses? These two foods feed the body as did the loaves and fishes, but they do absolutely nothing for the soul.
As I have recounted above from John 14:6, Jesus said He is the "Life", and in 6:56, He said, "He who eats My flesh, and drinks My blood, abides in Me and I in him." Abide means to live in.
Verse 53, "Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, YOU SHALL NOT HAVE LIFE WITHIN YOU."
Is consuming crackers and grape juice going to fulfill verses 53 and 56? Where is the symbolism? Read these two verses again.
Now compare John 6:56 above with John 15:6, "If a man does not abide in me, he is cast forth as a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire and burned."
John 6:56 clearly said that we must eat his flesh and drink his blood.
John 15:6 clearly said that if we do not, then we are lost. How can we be lost by failing to eat a symbolic gesture?
Count the number of times Jesus said, He is the bread, the living bread, that it is His flesh and it is His blood, and that we must eat of His flesh and drink His blood?