The Eucharist Eternal Life Now

THE EUCHARIST ETERNAL LIFE NOW

 “Unless you eat of the flesh of the Son of man and drink of his blood, you do not have life within you. … My flesh is real food, and my blood is real drink.  …  This is the bread that is come down from heaven; it is not like the bread that our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will live forever.”  (John 6: 53, 55, 58)

The word eucharist = eucharistein and eulogein  =  Greek for thanksgiving –

Thanksgiving for God’s works of creation, redemption and sanctification.

Jesus chose the Passover Feast to institute the Eucharist because it was the feast of freedom from slavery for the Jews, at which a lamb was slain the blood of which saved the Jews from slaughter.

As Jesus passed-over from this life to his Father by his redemptive act of Death/Resurrection, he gave us THE PASSOVER MEAL – HIMSELF!

In the passage above, from the Gospel according to John the word

“you”  is in the plural

Jesus is not just talking to one individual, but to the community of friends, and followers that are gathered with him.

The word “faith” is communal, it is not something private.  We are the People of God.  We belong to a community of faith.

“Eucharist” is a feast of thanksgiving. It is hard to feast on one’s own.

At the Passover the lamb was not only slain.  In order for the redemption, i.e. the freedom of the Jews, the lamb must be eaten  – and not one morsel was to be left over.

So it is with us in our Eucharistic Celebration.  We have not truly celebrated the Mass unless we have “eaten” the Body of Christ.

In John’s passage the word ‘eat’ is the word meaning “gnaw”, “chew and swallow”

This is no delicate sanitized word.  Jesus wants us to know that we are truly ‘eating’ his body. And in the same way he wants us to know that we are really drinking his blood!  This is radically jarring, and it is meant to be so.  Blood is the sign of life, a life poured out for us.  We are meant to pour out our blood, our life with him, and in him and through him.  And here is the paradox – we are meant to celebrate as we do it!!!  Jesus used the symbol of celebration – wine – to become his blood. There is nothing expedient, or particularly kind to the delicacy of our western senses in the Eucharist.  It is earthy, and born of blood sweat and tears.  The Lord knows that we need all the external help that we can get to know his redemptive love, and the full impact of the faith we profess.

Therefore we are told “to take it and eat it”, and “to take it and drink it”! He is our saviour after all, and if he thought it was enough to eat it, he would have stopped there.  But he didn’t.  All meals consist in eating and drinking.  Every Eucharist is the Last Supper NowSo do we say to Jesus “You are unsanitary, asking us to drink your blood!  It is enough to ask us to eat your body!”

  And, it is not some private event.  Jesus wasn’t giving this teaching privately, but rather to a crowd of Jews, some of whom supported him and some who did not. His meal at the Passover was not private either.  As a matter of a fact a betrayer was present.

The Jews were not as individuals when they were freed.  They were the People of God, as we are.  Jesus passed-over from death to life, to forgive all men.  We who believe this are called Christians, the People of God, the Body of Christ.  Paul tells us that we are “a single body, for we all share in the one loaf”  – that is Jesus. (1Cor. 10: 16, 17).

Do we really believe this!!??  I wonder!! For me my whole experience of the Eucharist can be found in: the final discourse in John’s Gospel   –  Chapters 13- 17; and in Paul-  Romans  8 : 18 – 25.

At the Eucharist I am one not only with Jesus, but also with everyone else, who believes and receives the body and blood of Jesus.  Wow!  It is an overwhelming truth!  At the Last Supper Jesus prayed that “They all may be one Father, as you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us.” (Jn. 17:21)

Isn’t this what we all yearn to experience? The feeling of being totally one with someone is supposedly the culmination of the experience of love within marriage.  But the desire is never fully realized.  Yet here in the Eucharist it is a reality!!  And we seldom if ever allow ourselves to delve into the fullness of itWe are closer to Jesus and closer to each other than any blood bond or marriage can ever achieve.

The Eucharist is Jesus redeeming us right now

With God there is no time – all is now  –  no past  –  no future  –  only now!

Jesus is living with us -praying for us -dying for us -rising for us –NOW!

 Therefore in the Eucharist    I amwe are ,

constantly –

at one ,  and the same time

Being created as his people

Being called as his people

Forgiven as his people

Bound together as his Body in the New Eden.

As surely as God took mud  –     water and soil  –

molded it into man,

breathed life into it   –

his life into it  –  because there is only God life,

so just as surely God takes that same soil and moulds it into  himself, Jesus.

Jesus takes that same soil and molds it into himself glorified!

The soil that molded man, nourished the wheat and grape, that is now

the bread and the wine fruit of the earth  –  glorified!

He tells us to eat it and drink it  –  that soil, the work of his hands and ours,

now dignified as God himself!!

He tells us to eat it – and – drink it:

It is real flesh.

It is real blood.

It is real food!!

I think it is a very sad thing that we do not drink his blood every time we celebrate the Eucharist, as this act would go a long way toward bringing about the awareness of the reality of what we are doing. It is what he told us to do in both his teachings on the Eucharist. We are too sanitized in our faith.  Our celebration of the Eucharist comes neatly packaged, standing in the way of our truly delving into its well.

When we look at the words John reports Jesus using to teach the first believers, and us about the Eucharist in chapter 6 we find:

To “eat” – ‘trogo’ which means to ‘masticate’, to ‘chew’, ‘to gnaw on’.

To “drink” – ‘poma’ or ‘pino’ meaning to guzzle, to imbibe fully. It was colloquially used to mean imbibe to drunkenness.

And the word that we use for the changing of the bread and wine into Jesus’ body and blood: to “consecrate” is from the Latin ‘consecrare’ meaning to make holy, to make sacred, to destroy what is, in order to become totally other, to slay, to forfeit, to make over, to set apart for something else.

The “water” in the chalice is us.

Do we realize that we are saying “Amen“ to being slain, to being made over, to being destroyed in who we think we are, to become Christ!!! ???

Our faith is dynamic!!

Real

Not comfortable

But bloody, messy

And challenging!

After all, in the Eucharist we are participating in an active way in the redeeming act of Christ.

When I receive Jesus  –  his body and blood  –  I am eating what I am made of-

All that this world relies on and is sustained by –

All the dust and grime –

As well as all the fruits of the earth.

I am eating what I am made of – All being glorified in the Body of Christ, here and now on earth!!

This bread that Jesus changed into his body did not just happen!!

Someone tilled the soil, in the heat of the day

–          someone planted the seed, weeded and watered

–          someone harvested, ground the grain and kneaded the flour with water

–          someone baked it, and felt the heat of the oven and sweated!!

Jesus is blessing “the work of our hands”

This wine he gave us as his blood was not accidentally chosen either.

As with the grain, so with the grape.

It went through a whole growth process to become that wine!

That wonderful result of juice, gushing from harvested grapes!

The word John uses for the blood ‘flowing’ from the side of Christ is the same word used to speak of the juice gushing and frothing out of the grape.

This “blood” flows frothing and abundant.

At the consecration then, all of the steps in the making of the bread and wine are consecrated by Jesus.All creation is being made new, re-created.

“The whole of creation is groaning in one great act of giving birth” (Rom. 8: 22).

Jesus is making all things “GOOD”.  All, that God has made “IS VERY GOOD INDEED” {Gen. 1:31}

The New Eden, right here on earth!

We taste what will be fully realized for all eternity, now!

 ALL OF CREATION SYMBOLIZED BY THE BREAD, THE WINE,
THE WATER

IS BEING REDEEMED BY THIS REDEMPTIVE ACT CELEBRATED IN THE EUCHARIST!!!

ALL IS BECOMING ONE,

— not only I in the Trinity and the Trinity in me but also you in me and I in you – in an absolutely real way.  More real than the world knows real!
“That they all may be one, Father,
as you are in me and I am in you.
May they be one in us.” {Jn. 17:21}

All one in the love of JESUS AND THE FATHER THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THE GLORY OF GOD, “so perfected in unity”.

St. Paul tells us that we carry on in our lives the redemptive action of Christ.

We have become his body in the world at the consecration, becoming “consecrated in the truth” (Jn. 17: 19).

We ratify it with “Amen” at communion.

We become flesh with his flesh, blood with his blood.  No blood transfusion could be more complete!!

We become one with all that is, symbolized by the bread, wine and water.

At that moment of Eucharist/Communion all is sacred – All is one.

What is a living truth is realized more fully than at any other time!

The Lord has done marvels for us.

We are glad indeed!!

So my soul magnifies the Lord.

My whole being rejoices in God my saviour!

 Blessed is the life that throbs within me!

Holy is his name.

He is rescuing his people.

 I live no longer I but

Christ lives in me!

 Glory be to him who

Does more than we could ask for or imagine!

Glory be to him now.   Amen

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