According to scripture, the night before he died Jesus shared a meal with his friends. During the meal, he broke the bread and shared it and also shared the cup of wine with them. He asked that whenever they did this they would remember him. This has become the primary Christian sacrament and it is based in food and the practice Jesus had during his public life of shared inclusive meals. The Eucharist is about shared food and inclusivity. Jesus embodied inclusivity. We become one body. It is about becoming one with Christ and one in Christ; it is about spiritual food for the journey, and it is about participating in Jesus’ passion for a different kind of world.
Adapted from Speaking Christian
May we become the Body of Christ.
What does it mean to be the “Body of Christ”? How inclusive are we as a Christian people? What does it mean for you?
He took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; This my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and all of them drank from it. He said to them, ”This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many.”
Mark14:22 – 24
The great challenge today is to convert the sacred bread into real bread, the liturgical peace into political peace, the worship of the Creator into reverence for the creation, the Christian praying community into an authentic human fellowship. It is risky to celebrate the Eucharist. We may have to leave it unfinished, having gone first to give back to the poor what belongs to them.
For the early Christians, the empowerment activated through the practice of commensality regenerated a whole new sense of what it means to belong to the household. It entails an all-embracing inclusiveness, devoid of class distinctions, ethnicity, purity regulations, or social status. But it also embraces a cosmic, planetary world view that cries out for global justice, so that all can avail themselves of the abundance with which God endows the creative universe.
Eucharist calls us to conscience and if it does not, it betrays Jesus Christ and the dangerous memory we were baptized to embrace. Table fellowship in the earliest Christian communities was what the table fellowship of Jesus had been about during his time of ministry. It marked the community gathered in memory of the one who was a “friend of tax collectors and sinners” and was maligned as a “glutton and a drunkard” by those who could not stomach such inclusion. We have every reason to believe that the meal practice of earliest Christians was something” out of the ordinary” and not the result of their Jewish heritage. It pointed primarily to their identity as they continued “a regular practice” of the ministry of Jesus.
There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.
M. F. K. Fisher