In a sense it is such an obvious question it's a wonder it hasn't been posed more often: what is the objective of the eucharist? That's the question John Chuchman poses for our reflection today: "Do the adorers seek to place God at their own disposition to reassure their identity and strengthen their determination? Or does the Real Presence seek to honor the liturgy where the community celebrates its own power in the name of God?"
What is the objective of Eucharist?
Is it an idolatry
that imagines itself honoring God
when it heaps praises on a wafer
exhibited as an attraction
brandished like a banner?
Do the adorers seek
to place God at their own disposition
to reassure their identity
and strengthen their determination?
Or does the Real Presence
seek to honor the liturgy
where the community celebrates
its own power
in the name of God?
Is the idolatrous reduction of God
to a mute thing
a vainly impotent act?
Why do the bread and wine
take on new meaning
for the community gathered?
Are the bread and wine
Welcomed as Gift
by the community assembled
because people are nourished
and brought together by it?
Perhaps the Bread and Wine
become the manifestation,
not so much of the Presence of God,
but more of the Community
becoming Aware of God
and of itself,
In Search of the face of God.
At the precise moment
of receiving the Sacrament,
the Community still seeks it
and finds nothing more of it
than what its collective consciousness
has been able to secure.
The Real Presence
is displaced from the bread and wine
to the Community.
The Community gathered must move from
Jesus, present in the bread and wine,
to Jesus present in those gathered
whose Eucharistic Action
under sacramental form.
Eucharist is a meal,
the sharing of which,
is a sign of Communion
of those who participate in it.
Though the theology of transubstantiation
has lost its legitimacy among most theologians;
the Real Presence remains,
not as things, bread and wine,
but in and as
as the present consciousness
of the collective self.
The bread and Wine
serve as simple perceptible media
for a wholly representational process,
the Collective Awareness of the Community by itself.
The prayer of consecration can be as useless
as the presider saying it
if it does not bring on
Community Awareness of the Real Presence
within the Community.
Love, John Chuchman
This reflection is also published on John Chuchman's blog.
The images used to support today's reflection have been sourced from: www.emmanuelcommunity.com.au, and Christ Our Hope Anglican Church Blog, Dayton, Ohio
John Chuchman is a bereavement counsellor. He is a graduate of John Carroll University and former Ford Motor Company executive (1959-1992). He has been a Hospice volunteer since 1990. John has received Pastoral Bereavement Counselor certification and a Certificate in Spirituality (Kino Institute of Phoenix, Arizona.) In 2000, he was awarded a Master of Arts degree in Pastoral Ministries from Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. His website provides information about his regular retreats and information about his books. he also writes a "Poetman" blog which you can find on the website or via this link: [Visit John's blog] | [Visit John's website]
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[Index of Commentaries by John Chuchman]