Pastor's Desk: 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Posted 22nd August 2015 in Pastor's Desk

In place of the Pastor’s Desk this week, we include the following extract from Intercom Magazine:

The Deep End - Bodies

John’s lengthy episode in the synagogue at Capernaum operates like a press conference that does not end well. Many of Jesus’ followers abandon him, scandalised at his Eucharistic tones. ‘This is intolerable language,’ they muse. Alone with his disciples, Jesus asks them if they wish to leave too. Like the synoptic accounts, Peter takes the opportunity to profess his faith. Here, however, he does not get rewarded with the keys to the kingdom. There are a few twists and turns to go in his story.

The remnant of Jesus’ followers have serious questions: what could the miracle of loaves mean? And how could one possibly eat this man’s flesh? Perhaps it is only in the Eucharistic body of the community that these scenes make sense.

Theologian Graham Ward calls this expansion the ‘displaced body of Jesus Christ’ and Gerard Loughlin explains it in this way: ‘Jesus’ body is gradually lost to sight with its crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. But leaves only in order to return, infinitely transposed in the Eucharistic body that feeds the body of the Church, which becomes Christ’s body, not metaphorically, but actually, as its non-identical, analogical repetition.’ In the body of believers, this ‘intolerable’ body of Christ expands and lives most fully in the bodies of others as they share his table.

Paul Clogher

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