[I’d like to emphasise how amateur this is. I have much to learn. Wherever I’m mistaken, please correct me to the best of your ability or direct me to correction. And wherever I’m missing something, please show me.
Thanks in advance]
In Part 1, I suggested that the essence of a body is it having life in it (and something similar for the essence of blood), and that this is how Jesus is present in the Eucharist. After further reflection, I think this idea is greatly lacking. It seems like it could be expressed as
bread + life = body,
which seems terribly wrong to me. When I reread part 1, it seems to make perfect sense, but each time I think about it afterwards, it seems to come back to this ugly equation. I think part 1 was incomplete rather than incorrect.
Life is crucial for a body to be a body. But there’s more to bodyness than this. Or perhaps more to “life” than I’m considering. The point that seems to be lacking in the above equation, is life history (which is often meant by “life”, eg. ‘he had a good life’). My body has been with me since my beginning. It has rejoiced and worshipped and sinned and suffered. It has scars which tell stories. And even as my body replaces its cells, they too became a part of my life story, and take up my history.
Consider teleportation. If my body was disintegrated, and simultaneously a duplicate was assembled somewhere else, I would have a new body, rather than a continuation of the original body. Or perhaps consider a freaky friday style mind-swap instead.
And consider the resurrection. We will rise again on the last day and be transformed, rather than having new bodies created fresh. And when Jesus rose again, the tomb was empty, and he still bore the holes in his hands and side. He retained the flesh that suffered for our sake. God doesn’t want us to forget where we’re coming from, because it’s a part of us, and a part of our relationship with Him.
So, in the Eucharist also, the bread becomes Jesus’ living body, that suffered and died for us, and the wine becomes Jesus’ life-giving blood, that was shed and poured out for us. The most holy sacrament of the altar is somehow intimately involved in Jesus’ life story.
God bless you