A Kingdom Encounter – Reflection for 14 OCT 2018
What happens in the Eucharist? This mystery has both united and divided the Church for 2000 years. While I am certain that I will not answer it in three paragraphs, I will invite you to consider a way of understanding our experience of Christ at the Table.
As the Church has tried to fit the Eucharist into the current understanding of the world, a variety of explanations have been popular ranging from the bread and wine being a mere symbol to the bread and wine being fully changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus. Instead of trying to fit the Eucharist into a way of understanding the world, I prefer to see the Eucharist in terms of the Incarnation.
In the Incarnation, Jesus is fully human and fully God. In the same way, the bread we take in the Eucharist is fully bread and fully Body just as the wine is fully wine and fully Blood. However, the mystery of the Eucharist includes more than the bread and wine. The Eucharist includes us as well.
We pray for Christ to dwell in us and we in Him. We pray that we will be fed and nourished spiritually in the physical act of receiving the Body and Blood. We ask that the Body and Blood keep us in eternal life. In some way, we encounter Christ in the Eucharist.
We may understand the mystery of our own experience of the Eucharist through the Incarnation as well. Just as the eternal Son became flesh and dwelt on earth in a specific time and place, in our specific time an place, we encounter the eternal. We are fully here and also fully in the Kingdom through the Eucharist. We are fully in the “now” and also fully in the “not yet.”
We come to the Table to encounter Christ and to experience the Kingdom. We come fully broken and fully loved. We come to be nourished and we come to be changed. We are drawn to the Table and we are sent out from the Table.