Jesus answered him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
Of the many things I love about the faith, the aspect of it that "sealed the deal" in my return to belief in the fullness of the Truth it proclaims is the fact that, at its core, the fundamental teachings (dogmas) of the Church remain unchanged throughout space and time. The first time I really sat and though about that-ironically enough, by contemplating instead of trying to understand-the power and depth of it hit me like a ton of bricks. 2000 years and counting of revealed truth, handed down, unchanged, from generation to generation from Christ and his Apostles to us today. In each generation, the church has faced challenges to her teaching as men have attempted to twist them to an easier (i.e., requiring less faith) or more convenient (requiring less obedience; attempting to conform Christ to suit self, instead of the other way around) distortion, just as St. Paul cautioned St. Timothy:
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:3-5, RSV)
Each of the truths she proclaims, from the full divinity and humanity of Christ, to his real presence in the Eucharist, to the dignity and sanctity of each human life from conception to natural death, may be unfolded and unveiled as God, in his time, chooses to reveal them to mankind, much like a flower that grows and blooms. However, unlike a flower, they do not and will not die. Like the One from which they flow and in Whom they are Incarnated, they are eternal and will continue into existence forever.
It is in particular, on this feast of Corpus Christi, the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, that we celebrate the most shocking of truths that Christ revealed in his Bread of Life discourse. In today's Gospel, John 6:51-58, Jesus revealed just how scandalously deep he intended to enter into our humanity:
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds:"I am the living bread that came down from heaven;whoever eats this bread will live forever;and the bread that I will giveis my flesh for the life of the world."
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying,"How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" Jesus said to them,"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 bloodhas 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 bloodremains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent meand I have life because of the Father,so also the one who feeds on mewill have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,whoever eats this bread will live forever."
It is incomprehensible--to us, at least--that God himself should choose to not only lower himself to take on human flesh, but also make himself the very food that we should eat, so that he might enter fully into us, body and soul, and in doing so transform us to become like himself. He seeks, at last, to welcome us into relationship with him, as sons and daughters of the Father and co-heirs of the eternal kingdom (cf. Romans 8:16-17). Think about it for a minute, or two...or ten...or for eternity. It is literally mind-boggling, so deep and wide that we cannot comprehend it. Thank goodness we can't; if we could, there would inevitably be a loss of the awesomeness of what Christ is calling us to believe. "For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance." (Romans 8:24-25)
His command and his invitation is never to understand, but to believe. Through our belief, by the power of the Holy Spirit he will draw us deeper into that relationship, and eventually the knowledge and understanding that can only come through relationship. Through the power of the same Spirit, he guards and protects the teaching authority of His Church against error, so that the faith that has been handed to us through the Apostles may continue and, in the end, we the Church may be presented to the Father as the only gift that is acceptable to him, "the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb." (1 Peter 1:19).
He, Truth Incarnate, gives himself to us, unreservedly, forever. All we have to do is believe. If that's not an amazing gift, I don't know what is.