Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Ramblings About the Eucharist and Scripture: In which I mention pelicans, the big bang theory, and a certain science fiction hero

Ciborium
Today's blog post is mainly my musings about the Eucharist and scripture. I'm not posting to build a case for the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. That's for another post. I simply want to share my personal ...I hesitate to say revelations because it sounds so lofty and I'm about as unlofty as a person can get, but I can't think of another word.

It's strange, but lately it's often when I'm unfocused at Mass that the Eucharist has a dramatic effect on me. I'd have thought that when I was the most emotionally/religiously charged that I'd feeeel the most effect after receiving the Eucharist, but it seems that He is at work in a special way when I'm distracted. After receiving, He calls me back like he did when I was lost. I won't go into the experience because already I fear I'm starting to sound silly. I can't explain what it's like. Sometimes I cry and I'm not a crier.

Here's one of today's readings. It struck me profoundly.

(To always go back and look at the day's readings you can go here.)

Is 55:10-11

Thus says the LORD:
Just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.

Jesus is the Word of God- coming from the mouth of the Father and also the Bread of Life, put into our mouths in the Eucharist. For some reason, I am reminded of one symbol of God-- the pelican. I thought of how it feeds its young by regurgitating and the baby eats from the parent's throat.

pelican

People used to think they fed their young on their own blood, which is why it became the symbol of Christ. We now know it doesn't do that, but I think it's still a good symbol. (Check out the New Advent article on birds in Catholic symbolism for more.)

The words of Jesus in John 6:35 come to mind. "I am the bread of life."

They couldn't believe what he was saying. The Jews, you remember, didn't consume the blood of animals, let alone the blood of a person. The idea was ghastly to them. They're freaked- "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?" (John 6:51–52).

But Jesus doesn't back down or explain it as a metaphor or a parable, because it's literal. It's true.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him" (John 6:53–56). 

I hope you'll read the entire discourse. It's important.

It occurred to me that Jesus feeds us because he is the one who gave us life. We always think of the Father as the "maker" but remember, the Trinity is all One God. It seems the world was made through Jesus, The Word.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men.

I don't know how it was. If it was like in C.S. Lewis's Narnia book, The Magician's Nephew, in which Aslan (the Christ-like lion character) walks through the nothingness singing the world into existence. (Again, the word thing.) Or if it looked more like a big bang. (Read this to learn how a Catholic monk gave us the Big Bang Theory.)

We also read "The word became flesh and dwelt among us..." (John 1:14). That word of God, through whom everything and everyone was made (as we read above) became flesh like us. He's the maker and the makee. (Oh, spell check doesn't like that.) Fully human and fully divine.

God lives outside of time. He continues to offer himself. At every Mass, the priest acts as His agent, making the sacrifice and we are united outside of time and space with Jesus on the Cross and at the Last Supper. (For you fellow Whovians, Doctor Who fans, you can think of Jesus as the ultimate Time Lord.) If you're not a Doctor Who fan, never mind. :/

"Christ in the Eucharist" is a good article at Catholic Answers if you want more.

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