Throughout his ministry, Jesus performed an action consistent enough to be widely noticed. He shared meals with people who were excluded by the Jewish purity laws. According to Jewish custom, one brought to the table only those who were deemed worthy by the prevailing norms of the time. Jesus included everyone and he was criticized for it. “He eats with sinners.” The last supper may have been one of these meals. Knowing what his probable fate would be, Jesus said poignant words revealing his hope that when he was gone, these followers of his would continue in the way he had taught them. “Remember me.” Eat together, be united, exclude nobody, love one another, serve one another, don’t create artificial boundaries, remember who you are, continue to do this. ”Whenever you do this, remember me.”
May we become the Body of Christ for one another.
What does it mean to be the “Body of Christ”? How inclusive are we as a Christian people? Who do you see being excluded presently? 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
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 having shared inclusive meals. Jesus embodied inclusivity. We become one body. The Eucharist is about shared food and inclusivity. 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
The shared meals with sinners, outcasts and tax collectors were Jesus’ way of demonstrating that the reign of God had begun, was open to all, and demanded love of all.
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.
We thank you for Jesus of Nazareth who loved greatly and taught so clearly and courageously that he was able to set people free…We remember the night before he died, when he took bread, gave you thanks for everything he had, broke the bread and shared it with his friends asking them to remember his total surrender to you and his enduring love for each of them. Likewise, he shared the cup of wine with them…Jesus died into your loving embrace. We are thankful that his story grounds our belief in our own eternal, loving connected ness with you.
There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.
M. F. K. Fisher
Eucharist is the charter event of Christianity lived. It is where presence happens but it happens only in the sharing. We recognize Christ there. His life in us is meant to be given away. Eucharist cannot be held onto, dispensed frugally, and only under certain conditions. It is not meant to be for those who are deemed worthy and denied to those who are not. It is there for all those who hunger and thirst.