The good news for the day May29

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ (169)

Then accepting the five loaves and the two fish, and raising his eyes to heaven, Jesus said the blessing over them, broke them up into pieces, and handed them to his students for them to share with the public. Everybody ate, and were content. Then, when the leftovers were gathered, the bits filled twelve wicker baskets. (Luke 9)

Your understanding of what the Gospels mean when they mention the Body of Christ—or even the blood of Christ—reminds you to keep an open mind. The words about the Body of Christ come to us not just as a cultural or even religious difference. The Semitic world did not have a word for “living body”—the way we do—a thing that includes torso, head and limbs. And, of course, Christian tradition has always associated this multiplication of the loaves with the command to “eat My Body and drink My Blood.” “High church” people also contend that Communion IS the Body of Christ.

What DID the ancient Christians mean, however, by the “body of Christ”? What is the connection—for us—with this miracle of the bread? I would suggest two dimensions of the same thing.

First, think of the “body” (of Christ) as a “you”—the whole person, not just a part—but always a “you”—without gender, with respectful acceptance, a mystery of mind and biology, of presence, time and communication—but always a “thou,” a you. Secondly, think of the “Body” (of Christ) as a “you-shared”—the impact a person has on others, on history, on so many people—how vines of communication cause so many to change—to be nourished, to awaken and become different. In the “communion of saints” as well as the Eucharist (I see them as two sides of the same thing)—we share being different, we feed each other, we bless and change each other into “Good News” people. Our real hunger for God is fed in the Communion of Saints who use our little piece-selves to miraculously share.

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