Aloha Friday Message – June 21, 2019 – The Fellowship of The Bread

1925AFC062119 – The Fellowship of The Bread

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Luke 9:16-17 16 And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. 17 And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.

Acts 2:42 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.

1 Corinthians 10:16 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

This Sunday is June 23, 2019 – The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi). On this day we remember that Christ told his Disciples, and us as well, that he is the Bread of Life come down from Heaven which was followed by the statement for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Jesus is in the Father, the Father is in Jesus, the Father and the Son live in the Unity / Communion / Fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in those who believe. St. Thomas Aquinas once wrote: “Material food first of all turns itself into the person who eats it, and as a consequence, restores his losses and increases his vital energies. Spiritual food, on the other hand, turns the person who eats it into Itself, and thus the proper effect of this sacrament is the conversion of man into Christ, so that he may no longer live for himself, but that Christ may live in Him. And as a consequence it has the double effect of restoring the spiritual losses caused by sins and defects and of increasing the power of the virtues.”

In Jesus’ discourse about the Bread of Life, he points out that God gave manna – bread from Heaven – to the Israelites. In the 6th chapter of John (See John 6:47-51), he makes the claim that God is sending true bread from Heaven, himself. Jesus, eternally begotten of the Father, is eternally in the Presence of God. God showed us what this was like in the Bread of Presence, the Showbread (See Exodus 25:30, and Leviticus 24:5-9), which was always in the Holy Place, always before God’s face, and always consumed in a holy way by God’s Holy Priests in that Holy Place. Jesus is the Perfect Bread of Presence, consumed in a Holy Place.

Jesus reminded the Jewish authorities of the manna as well as the Showbread and of the time that King David ate the Bread of Presence as related in 1 Samuel 21:1-6 In this passage, David entered the Tabernacle on a secret mission. He asked the Priest, Abimelech, for five loaves of bread to feed him and his troops. The Priest gave him the Bread of Presence – Showbread – which enabled him to carry out the mission. The passage ends like this: So the priest gave him the holy bread; for there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence, which is removed from before the Lord, to be replaced by hot bread on the day it is taken away. You can see Jesus’ understanding of the significance of this in Mark 2:23-28 In this passage we read, 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry and in need of food? 26 He entered the house of God, when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and he gave some to his companions.” 27 Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for humankind, and not humankind for the Sabbath; 28 so the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”

Yes, we believe it truly is Christ who is present in the Eucharist; we believe His true presence begins from the time of the consecration and then endures so long as the sacramental species are discernible. In that belief, we become what we eat – Holy. Perfect? No, we are not perfect or perfected. We are made WHOLE which is what holiness is. Christ is present, Christ is offered, and Christ offers the Offering.

We refer to this offering as an oblation. This is a solemn gifting of Christ’s sacrifice and ours as we look upon the True Presence with eyes enlightened by faith. (See Ephesians 1:17-19 for opening the eyes of our hearts (↔ Music Link). An Oblation is a “meal” (grain) offering. It is the most fundamental of all offerings. In the Old Testament it is often called a “gift offering,” and the noun used in Hebrew is מִנְחָה (minkhah) {min-khah’}. During every Eucharistic Prayer there are two Oblations. The “lesser oblation” is the Offertory – this happens before the Consecration – in which the bread and wine are presented to God. During this Offertory, the Priest holds both hands over the Gifts on the Altar and blesses them. The “greater oblation,” the Oblation Proper, occurs after the consecration when the Priest, on behalf of Christ, offers God the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus as Jesus himself offers himself to his Father on our behalf. It is a truly amazing moment many people often miss even though we have opportunity to see the Bread of Life and to believe – to be an active participant in The Fellowship of The Bread.

We see the Bread when it is offered. We see the Bread when it is consecrated. We see the Bread when is broken and elevated with the Chalice of Salvation. We see the Bread when it is given for consumption. We become the Bread when we eat the Bread and Drink the Chalice. In all of these instances after the consecration, if we see with the eyes of our hearts, we see The Precious Body and Blood of Christ – not just bread and wine. In the same way that the Bread of Presence was always before the Lord in the Holy Place, we hold the Presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle of our Hearts, and our hearts are always facing the Face of the Lord. That is why we look, that is why we eat, that is why we believe, that is why we go – we become The Fellowship of The Bread.

The TV commercials and shows about losing weight are ubiquitous and all are based on the same premise: Diet and Exercise make change possible. Hm. Diet and exercise can change our lives. A diet that is the “Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ” certainly is a healthy diet. The exercise of our Faith is facilitated by the excellence of our diet. Diet and Exercise in this case also makes change possible. Better still, it makes complete change not only possible, but also feasible, and probable. Every Christian who is true to her/his faith is called to fearless and joyous communion with God through Jesus as Jesus’ adopted brothers and sisters.

So if the diet is Christ, then the exercise is, on one hand, our communion with and through him in the Eucharist, and on the other hand, our suffering with and for him (Recall what we studied in Mark 10:30). That doesn’t need to be as dramatic as it sounds. Suffering is not always misery, anguish, torment, and affliction. Sometimes it is just keeping your mouth shut when a stinging retort is poised at your lips. Sometimes it is dropping a dollar into a jar for a street musician or a homeless person. Sometimes it is giving up a bit of our time to volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club. Sometimes it is taking a moment to be kind to the “least of these my brethren.” For me and for my fellow Catholics, that exercise is made possible in a fuller and more satisfying way for us because of our confidence in the wholeness – mature, fully grown, completeness of The Body and Blood of the Eucharist. I gave up accepting the symbol of our faith as expressed in symbolic communion when I accepted the challenge to live in the Mystery of Transubstantiation. It’s a difficult concept for many Catholics to embrace and not all Catholics accept it. I cannot condemn that nor can I judge them for that perspective. Finding Jesus depends on where you put him.

We can’t keep putting Jesus “over there” in the church or “Up There” in Heaven or “back there” in time. He’s always “right here, right now.” Stop. Look. Listen. Feel. Touch. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord. (See Psalm 34:8) He never ever goes away no matter how good things are and no matter how bad things are. He’s always revealing himself to you “every moment of every day.” (↔ Music Link) And on those days when you feel like you have moved so far away from him that he can’t possibly know where you are, he speaks a promise to you:  Isaiah 41:9c-10 “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; 10 do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

Jesus is the Bread from Heaven, the Bread of Life, The Living Bread, and that Bread was blessed and broken for us. Bread is the staff of life, and eating bread is a necessary action of living. Traditionally, bread – as the staff of life – was broken before eating it; it was not cut because, symbolically, that would be slicing Life itself. With that in mind, there is a new layer of context in Acts 2:42 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. These are spiritual acts – sacred moments devoted to God. The Apostle Paul reminded the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 10:16 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ?

That word “sharing” is a very important word in our Liturgy. You will (hopefully) remember hearing this at the beginning of Mass: 2 Corinthians 13:13-14 13 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. “Sharing,” “Communion,” “Fellowship,” all of these are κοινωνία (koinōnia) {koy-nohn-ee’-ah} properly, whatever is shared in common as the basis of fellowship (partnership, community) Used secularly, it denotes a business partnership. Used in spiritual contexts, it denotes sharing in, communion, spiritual fellowship in the Body and Blood of Christ, a fellowship in the Holy Spirit which includes apostolic tradition, teaching, prayer, and participation in the Eucharist. That is a public act of worship where our Diversity plus our Unity together form Community – the place where κοινωνία happens in The Living Bread come down from Heaven.

In this Living Bread, we have the Full-Bodied Favor of God (not flavor) who becomes for, with, and in us the Staff of Life; we become what we eat (↔ Music Link). WE become bread blessed and broken and someday we will know that “What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces.” We will continue the Fellowship of The Bread at the Heavenly Banquet – YOLOF!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

We ARE the Body of Christ!

We ARE the body of Christ!

The Body of Christ – the Eucharist – nourishes and forms The Body of Christ – The Church – so that the Body of Christ becomes the Body of Christ!

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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