It is rather peculiar that, while on one hand, we are intrigued by mystery, and, on the other hand, the desire to explain mystery away and make it seem “ordinary.” As Jesus begins to deepen the understanding of the crowd that he is the “bread come down from heaven,” his words and personhood are diminished by an over familiarity on the part of those who seemingly “know him.” “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph? Do we not know his father and mother? How can he say, ‘I have come down from heaven’.” It is peculiar that we, here and now, often forget that the divine and the human are joined together. In the Rite of the Dedication of a Church, we often hear the words of a hymn:
What is this place in which we are meeting? Only a house, the earth its floor. Walls and a roof sheltering people, windows for light, an open door. Yet it becomes a body that lives when we are gathered here, and know our God is near!
We also can easily dismiss the real presence of the Lord Jesus in Holy Communion by using words that betray its sacred nature. Nathan Mitchell, a professor of mine a Saint Meinrad Seminary once wrote:
What lies in the table is not wheat and grapes but bread and wine, items created by fermentation and fire, by processes of creative destruction instigated by human agents for human purposes. What lies on the table is culture, not nature. What lies there is fragrant with musky pungency of human intervention.
The divine intervention, also through the creative destruction of the Cross and Resurrection, becomes the very Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus, the living bread and saving cup come down from heaven!
May the coming weeks, as we continue to ponder the Eucharist, be filled with many blessings!