Sunday, 6 June 2010

Corpus Christi II

Corpus Christi

Possibly the greatest gift, if we choose to believe it, is the Real Presence, the gift of the Eucharist. That who we receive is not a symbol, retelling, or celebration of ‘what Jesus meant’ but is the reality of what Jesus says; ‘this is my body; this is my blood’.

It struck me today, for the first time, that Jesus gave us this gift before the Resurrection and I wondered why. We know that after the Resurrection Jesus meets with the disciples many times; eats with them; cooks for them; sits around tables and campfires teaching them to understand what had come before. We know that it is in the breaking of bread; the giving of hospitality that he is recognised by his friends. But wouldn’t it have been easier to believe the gift coming from a Risen Lord, one who has become super-human; has revealed his divinity; for whom nothing is impossible.

But then nothing is impossible to God - except us. The free will that we all have, make each and every one of us a loose cannon in God’s great plan. To believe, to doubt, to love, to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ – every moment of our lives our choice; though it may suit us to pretend otherwise.

The Father has spent enough years trying to prove Himself; his love; His care; covenant after covenant; generation after generation; rainbows, children, authority; still we were impossible to please.

Then Jesus; gentle Jesus, meek and mild? I don’t think so. Jesus, the master of tough love – when is love not tough? A man without status speaking words many don’t want to hear. Disinclined to prove anything; doesn’t even answer questions except with other questions. Let the poor stay poor, heals those who need it, forgives the unforgivable; yet time and time again he says ‘it is your faith that has saved you’. Faith in the Son of Man cures the sick; forgives sins; raises the dead; faith in the humanity of Jesus as well as his divinity.

The Eucharist of the Resurrection would have been easily explained as a food for the spirit; for the intangible; an optional extra in an age of reason. Jesus is not just spirit but flesh and blood. He knows what hunger is like; he knows the gnawing longing that fills the flesh and the mind and the imagination. When you are hungry, really hungry, then all you can do is think, feel, remember, and desire nothing else than food; beyond reason.

This is how hungry our desire should be for God; physical, emotional, spiritual; unable to be satisfied by anything other than God. In the Eucharist, Jesus feeds all of us with all that he is –‘this is God’s body, this is God’s blood’ - it is for you to question whether it is true - ‘it is your faith that will save you’.

Corpus Christi

Given, helpless
Sticky with blood
Slippery with sweat
Enfolded into his mother.
First words; first steps:
Giggles and tickles;
Sneezes and coughs;
Tears, hiccups.
Body of Christ

Falls from trees
Scraped knees, bloody noses;
Splinters, ‘too hot!’ burns;
Nettlerash, pimples;
Dirt ingrained in fingerprint whorls
Calluses, bitten nails
Blistered shoulders
Slipped chisel scars
Body of Christ

Face of a wanderer
Laughter lines etched deep
Leathered skin
Speaking of Love
Giving peace with a kiss
Courage with a word
Sharing of Body and Blood
Food for the journey
Body of Christ

Agonised flesh
Tortured, tormented,
Defiled, pierced
Given, helpless
Sticky with blood
Slippery with sweat
Enfolded into his Father
Body of Christ


1 comment:

Jaroslaw said...

Here is an interesting entry on Corpus Christi, its history and spiritual meaning offering a broad perspective on various traditions and forms of piety. Certainly worth checking out: