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Archive for the ‘Body & Blood of Christ’ Category

An artist designed an unusual door

for a church in Germany.

He divided the door into four panels.

Each panel depicts several symbols

referring to a gospel event.

 

The first panel shows six water jars,

referring to the miracle at Cana,

where Jesus changed water into wine.

 

The second panel

shows five loaves and two fish,

referring to the miracle at Capernaum,

where Jesus multiplied loaves and fish.

 

The third panel

shows thirteen people seated at a table,

referring to the Last Supper.

 

The fourth panel

shows three people seated at a table,

referring to the Easter supper

Jesus ate with two of his disciples.

The artist chose these four events

because they relate to the Mass.

They relate to Jesus’ gift of himself to us

in the form of bread and wine.

 

Let’s take a closer look at each panel

to see how it relates to the Mass.

Let’s begin with the miracle at Cana,

where Jesus changed water into wine.

 

Sometimes modern Christians have trouble

seeing how water can change into wine.

 

Early Christians

had no trouble with this miracle.

They lived off the soil

and saw something similar to it happen

each summer in their vineyards.

Grapevines drew water out of the ground

and, with help from the sun,

changed water into wine.

 

But the important thing

abut the miracle at Cana is not

how Jesus worked it, but why he worked it.

 

Was it merely

to save a young couple from embarrassment

of running out of wine at their wedding?

 

The artist who designed the door

suggests that Jesus had a deeper reason.

Jesus wanted to prepare his disciples

for the Last Supper,

when he would change wine into his own blood.

 

This brings us to the second panel.

It shows five loaves and two fish,

referring to the miracle of the loaves and fishes.

 

Again, some modern Christians

have trouble with this miracle.

 

Early Christians, however,

had no trouble with it.

They saw something similar happen

each year in their wheat fields.

 

In spring,

they would plant five bushels of wheat,

and by the time summer ended,

the wheat would multiply into 500 bushels.

But again, the important thing is not

how Jesus worked this miracle, but why.

Was it merely out of compassion

for a crowd of hungry people?

 

Again, the artist suggest another reason.

The miracle gave Jesus a chance

to tell the people that he would soon feed them

more marvellously than he had just done.

 

He would feed them even more marvellously

than Moses fed their ancestors in the desert.

Jesus said to the people:

 

“What Moses gave you

was not the bread from heaven. . .

I am the Living Bread

that came down from heaven.

If anyone eats this bread, he will live forever.

The bread that I will give

is my flesh.”      John 6:32, 51

 

And this leads us to the third panel.

It shows thirteen people seated at a table,

referring to the Last Supper.

 

At the Last Supper Jesus does more

than change water into wine;

he changes wine into his own blood.

 

And he does more

than multiply loaves of bread;

he changes bread into his own body.

Mark’s gospel describes it this way:

 

“While they were eating,

Jesus took a piece of bread,

gave a prayer of thanks,

broke it and gave it to his disciples.

“ ‘Take it,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’

 

Then he took a cup, gave thanks to God,

and handed it to them;

and they all drank from it.

 

Jesus said, “This is my blood

which is poured out for many,

my blood which seals God’s covenant.’”

 

And this leads us to the final panel.

It shows three people seated at a table,

 

referring to the Easter supper

Jesus ate at Emmaus with two of his disciples.

 

The artist interprets the Emmaus supper

as the first celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

Luke describes it this way:

Jesus “took the bread and said the blessing;

then he broke the bread

and gave it to them.”   Luke 24:30

 

This description matches what Jesus did

at the Last Supper.

 

The artist’s door is an excellent summary

of the Lord’s Supper as it develops

in the course of the Gospel.

 

It traces it from Cana, where it was prefigured,

to Capernaum, where it was promised,

to Jerusalem, where it was instituted,

to Emmaus, where it was first celebrated.

 

All this ties in beautifully

with the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ

which we celebrate today.

 

Today’s feast celebrates Jesus’ gift of himself to us

as our spiritual food and drink.

 

This mystery of love is above all imagining.

Jesus himself to us so completely

that there is nothing more for him to give.

 

Some time ago

divers discovered a 400-year-old Spanish ship

buried in water

off the coast of Northern Ireland.

 

Among the treasures found on the ship

was a man’s gold wedding ring.

Etched into the wide band of the ring

was a hand holding a heart and these words:

“I have nothing more to give you.”

 

The same image and sentence could be used

to describe what today’s feast is all about.

It’s Jesus saying to us,

“I have given myself to you so totally

that there is nothing more to give you.”

 

I will close with this suggestion:

in a few minutes, at Communion time,

when you come up to receive Communion

and hear the words: “The Body of Christ”

try to realize, in a special way,

what you receive.

 

It is the living body of Jesus.

It is the same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem.

It is the same Jesus who died on the cross.

It is the same Jesus who rose from the dead.

 

When you think about it this way,

it’s so incredible that it’s hard to imagine.

Yet we know, by faith, it’s true.

Only a loving Father

could have given his children

such an incredible gift.

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