Readings: Gen 14:18-20; Psalm 110:1-4; 1 Cor 11:23-26; Luke 9:11-17
This idea of the body of Christ has a number of meanings. The most obvious and yet subtle is in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. As Paul says in today’s second reading, we remember Jesus Christ every time we celebrate the Eucharist. We ‘proclaim his death’ speaks both to how he died – lovingly and with integrity – and also that he rose. Following ancient beliefs in the Church: we become the body of Christ as we consume the bread and wine (St Augustine). We celebrate our connection with each other in Christ. More than that, we share our giftedness. I don’t have to have all of the answers – I can rely on those around to help and support me with their giftedness. A very comforting notion. This is developed in today’s Gospel. We are fed by the body of Christ, abundantly. Not just fed by the Eucharistic species but also supported and nurtured by other members of this community in Christ.
At the fraction rite, the priest can say ‘may the body of Christ bring us to everlasting life’. Our salvation – yours and mine – comes in community when I no longer rely on myself. Our salvation also comes for community – I am meant to build others up, build community in my turn.
Another facet of the body of Christ is the power which is in the community that is created. The community resembles the Trinity in whose image we are created. This explains why we are so ‘at home’ in community. We are each made for relationship, for community, for love.
This is what we acknowledge and celebrate today.