Catholicity 2

My caricature continues:

Catholic and Protestant deliberations on the eucharist tend to focus on the encounter of two individuals, Jesus Christ and the believer. In this encounter Christ makes himself present in the form of the wafer consecrated before us. In the eucharist Jesus comes to me in an event of transformation in which ordinary bread is made extraordinary. But it is not the bread which is being transformed here, but the Christian. The Christian is being made holy, transformed from one degree of Christlikeness to another, from partial to whole and perfect.

The loaf does not represent Christ individualised and therefore without us. The loaf represents Christ – and us with him. That loaf is him and us together. It represents us in part as we are (broken) and in part as we shall be (whole). Thus the loaf represents all humanity recapitulated in Christ, who together make the one. It is the Christ-and-his-people loaf, the Christ-in-his-kingdom loaf.

The resurrection does not just mean that one day my little body will be made to stand upright again. It is that I will be raised to you, and you will be raised to me, so that the relationship we once had will be restored, and the relationship that we never had will now begin. I will be alive because you will supply me with this life: you will be my source of life and I will be your source of life. This will be so because we will both be connected to Christ, who is the source for all of us, and he will give and receive us back from one another again, authenticating our reception of one another.

I have been running away from people my whole life long. But in the event of the resurrection I am turned around so that I run slap into those very people I have been fleeing. Our collision and sudden encounter is what the resurrection is, for me and for them. In this encounter we are brought into relationship with all others, and so transformed.

We are being brought into relationship with those who are (presently) living and with those who are (to us) dead. They are dead to us and to each other, but they are not dead to Christ. Even separated by death from all other persons, they are alive, because Christ does not end the relationship he has with them; as long as Christ does not let them go, they are sustained and cannot finally die. Christ does not believe in death; he does not give it an inch, and he will not allow its individualizing and isolating to prevail over us.

It is not that I am being transformed as a merely individual entity. Rather I am being turned outwards so that I can no longer be thought of as someone cut off and isolated from others. I am being adapted to fit each other living person. We are all of us being fitted to one another. Resurrection means that I am brought into living relationship with, and so made alive to, every other person, and they to me. The (future) body of Christ will be made of every living person. We are being broken out of our present partial and sectarian community and brought into a much bigger one, indeed into the universal community. Our small local sectarian loaf is being re-dissolved and baked into a much bigger loaf – one that is made of all.