This is My Body
Listen to the Word.
The Word, as we see in John 1, is Jesus. Jesus, the Word, explained the sacrament of the Eucharist to his disciples in John 6 and in the Last Supper narratives, ‘This is my body’. In Latin, translated to ‘Hoc est corpus meum’. Jesus, the physical incarnation of God, had left us a physical part of him for all ages.
The Apostles listened to the Word and obeyed Christ, for we see in Paul’s writings the recital of Jesus’ words of the Last Supper and a warning to those who would receive this Body and Blood in an unworthy manner. 1 Cor 10:16 “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?”
The early church taught ‘Hoc est corpus meum’, as we read in Justin Martyr’s letter to the Emperor of Rome in 155 AD. He told the emperor that, even in this early date, he himself had been taught by earlier Christians (in his case at St. John’s Ephesus), that the bread and wine was ‘consecrated’ into the Body and Blood. Those not yet fully baptized were not allowed to join in the Eucharist, a strange prohibition indeed if the Lord’s Table was merely a memorial.
Even Martin Luther 1500 years after Christ listened to the Word. ‘Hoc est corpus meum’ he said (and once carved into a desk top), to the other Reformers who were then reinterpreting the Scriptures.
Listen, then, to the Word. The Word of God Incarnate. ‘This is my body.’
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