The Body of the Lord is referenced in our Liturgy, in the Scriptures and in our Theology. What is the meaning of this “body” in our faith? The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became human— one of us— without losing what he was, and yet becoming what he was not. Jesus Christ is truly human. He took his humanity from Mary as she was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit. Christ is really one of us. He bled. He was hungry. He was beaten physically. But, he also enjoyed the happy moments of his life with us as he engaged in family life at Nazareth. He said “My delight is to be with the children of men” (Proverbs 8: 31). He enjoyed the food of the Last Supper, at Cana, and at his home away from home, with Martha, Mary and Lazarus at Bethany. He also ate with sinners, not to countenance what they do wrong, but to let them know he had come to save them from their sins. He suffered the frustration and failure to be understood. In other words, he did not say to all of us, “do as I say,” as much as “do as I do.” Pick up your cross and follow me. He walked the walk. When we go to Communion, we receive Christ, body and soul, as well as the Divine Christ. He is our friend, as he called himself at the Last Supper. He is our brother, truly, in sharing our humanity. When the celebrant offers us Communion, he says, “the Body of Christ,” to which we respond, “Amen,” firmly and out loud, as our profession of faith in Christ present in his humanity, and not in some spiritual sense only. Did it ever occur to us that before Christ took on our humanity, he could never suffer. Prior, he had no human nature, no body to feel pain. Yet Christ opened himself up to suffering by taking on our humanity as a testimony of his love for us. Christ did not just appear to be human as early heresies tried to say. He was not just play acting, not just resembling us— he was truly human. He became human not just for thirty-three years and during his ministry on earth, but forever— for all eternity. This is why Christ prays, because he is human as well as divine. He prayed to his Father. He sought refuge in strength and prayer. He taught us to pray, “Our Father,” not just “my” Father.
Filed under: Awalt Papers