Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One Loaf

Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.
- 1 Corinthians 10:17
In St Paul's time, the bread used for communion probably looked a lot like how we envision bread today: a loaf, from which pieces were broken off, consecrated and distributed to the community. Quite different from the thin, perfectly formed wafers we use at our masses today. So if we are no longer literally eating from the same loaf of bread, is Paul's message in this reading still relevant to us?

It is. Because he's not really talking about bread. He's talking about what the bread becomes when it is blessed by the priest: the body of Christ. In that sense, we do all eat from the same loaf. And so, because we all eat from the same loaf, though we are many, we become one. Not just with the people who are receiving communion at the same mass as us, but with all the believers all over the world who eat from the loaf. There is only one Jesus. So when we eat His body we are joined to all the others who also eat His body. We become one. We become the loaf. We become the body of Christ.

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