Food that Nourishes and Heals

August 25th, 2012 Posted in writing

The United States government has a whole department, the F.D.A., whose job is to make sure that the food, drink and medicine we put in our bodies are good for us and won’t hurt us.

Many Christians believe that the Eucharist is also food and drink and medicine — not the kind a government lab can analyze but Christ’s own real and sacramental Body and Blood given for the soul’s nourishment and healing and which gives life that lasts forever. (John’s gospel, chapter 6)

They believe that the Eucharist is effective not because we change it into ourselves as we do when we consume everyday food, drink, and medicine. Just the reverse. They believe the Eucharist changes us into the One we receive, namely, Christ. (St. Augustine made this point emphatically in his preaching and writing.)

So, every time we take the Host or drink from the Cup, we are in fact declaring our desire to be changed into the Lord, both as individuals and as communities. We receive the Eucharist so that, individually and communally, we may more truly be what God intends us to be, namely, the Body of Christ, carrying on the work that Jesus began long ago — to make the world more like the Kingdom of God.

Thus, ultimately, the Eucharist becomes true and lasting food, drink, and medicine not just for us but for the world.

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