Saturday, June 25, 2011
Body and Blood of Christ
I took this picture as we celebrated Mass near the Sea of Galilee on our pilgrimage to the Holy Land.
In John 6:56 Jesus says, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in them." In 1st Corinthians 10;17 Paul says,"Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body,for we all partake of the one loaf."
These verses help me to think of the Mass as a meal in which Jesus invites me to take part and by taking part to become one with Jesus and with everyone else who is eating his Body and drinking his Blood. I am struck by how vivid John makes this by choosing the Greek word for "flesh" rather than "body" and the Greek word that means "munch" or "gnaw" rather than "eat." The early Christians would have used something like pita bread which is why Paul can speak of everyone becoming one Body by eating of the one loaf.
The main purpose of the Eucharist is to build up the unity of the Church. The prayer over the gifts for the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ says, "Lord, may the bread and cup we offer bring your Church the unity and peace they signify."