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Monday, May 22, 2006

Who is the Bread of Life?

There is this one particular communion song that is used a lot in my parish that has always bugged me. I'm pretty sure it is titled Bread of Life. Regardless, it includeds lyrics such as, "you and I, are the bread of life. Broked and blessed, broken and shared by Christ, that the world may live." That may not be exact but its the best from my memory. Anyway, the song has always bothered me, but I couldn't put into words what bothered me about it. Then I ran across this passage in Catholic Matters by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus,

It is frequently said today that the "body" to which St. Paul refers is the community, which is the body of Christ. Thus one bishop writes that when the priest or lay minister distributes the host with the words "The body of Christ," he should exchange a "deeply meaningful look" with the communicant so that it is understood that the words mean "You are the body of Christ." This is a fundamental shift in Catholic piety and sacramental practice. Of course the Church is the body of Christ, but she is that by virtue of the gift of Christ, as in the body of Christ in the Eucharist. I am not the body of Christ. I participate in the body of Christ by virtue of the gift that is given. In the Eucharist we are gathered not to celebrate our amazing selves and what we are doing but to be incorporated in thte myster of what Christ is doing. What Christ is doing and what we are doing are not to be seperated; they are, however, to be clearly distinguished. It is a question of emphasis, but not merely of emphasis. The emphasis is all.
In a sense Fr. Neuhaus sums up my own thoughts. I don't really feel comfortable wth the "we are the bread of life, aren't we wonderful?" mentality. Yes we are each a member of the Body of Christ by virtue of being members of His Church which is the Body with Christ as its head and receiving th Eucharist. Christ is the Bread of Life and we participate in the Body of Christ by receiving Him in the Eucharist.

Edit: I found this today. It addresses the particular song that I was thinking of.

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