the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from. —John 2:9
As I read of Jesus’s first miracle—turning water into wine—the footnotes of my Bible offered a little more than I’d noticed before. Yes, this was his first miracle, and it shows his awesome power. And it shows that you should offer your best to God. (He did turn the water into the best wine, after all.) But wait, there’s more.
In the recollection of this miracle, there’s no talk of the wine running out. The servants filled jar after jar full of water, and there was more than enough of the good, new wine to go around. As stated in the footnotes:
[The second lesson is] the prefigurement of the Eucharist, in which wine is changed into the true Body and Blood of Christ, the “new wine” of the heavenly wedding feast.
The Eucharist, you say? In that case, let’s consider another miracle Jesus performed that includes multiplying nourishment:
and taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds… and those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children. —Matthew 14:19,21
Twice during Jesus’s ministry the disciples had said, “How are we going to feed all these people with so little bread?” (Did you not get it the first time, guys?) But they fed them all. With bread leftover. They could have fed more.
The two instances of Jesus multiplying nourishment for the people during his ministry, when there was an abundance to go around… was bread and wine. Just like the Eucharist.
Like any good non-Catholic, I questioned the Real Presence. It sure tastes like bread and wine to me, after all (or grape juice, as the case may be). But from the very beginning of Christianity, it was accepted that the holy communion becomes Jesus’s flesh itself. That it’s transformed within us. The moment you start to understand that is the moment you understand just how beautiful it is.
“I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire his blood, which is love incorruptible.” —St. Ignatius, 110 A.D.
I didn’t get why I couldn’t take communion. I’ve done it before, in different churches. But this isn’t merely a tasteless cracker and a shot of grape juice. This is Jesus Christ himself. It’s when that realization hits that you feel unworthy. That you feel you’re neither ready nor pure enough to accept him. And at this point in time… I’m not ready. But that only means that I’m beginning to understand. I’m preparing myself for the moment I can truly accept him.