What did Jesus mean, especially for us today, when He said, “Take; this is my body” (Mk 14:22)?


The “Eucharist” was not the term we used to describe our monthly celebration of the Lord’s Supper or Communion when I was brought up a Lutheran, but I later learned, however, that this was the Greek term that the earliest Christians used to describe their partaking of the bread and wine—the body and blood of Christ. Over the years, I’ve celebrated communion in many different Christian churches, and it’s disturbing how many different interpretations and practices there.

When our Lord commanded his apostles in the Upper Room to “do this in remembrance of me”, was this to be merely an occasional inconvenient add-on to worship, when the congregation precariously passes around platters of bread cubes and shot glasses of grape juice, all to somehow improve their memory of what Jesus did for them centuries ago? Or was this possibly to be the central reason they were to gathered together as one Body of Christ? It all comes down to whether Jesus was speaking symbolically or seriously when he said, “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you” (Jn 6:53). Saint Paul also warned: “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord” (1 Cor 11:27).

If the Lord’s Supper / Communion / Eucharist is merely symbolic, then why and how can taking it “in an unworthy manner” by a problem? What did Jesus mean, especially for us today, when He said, “Take; this is my body” (Mk 14:22)?

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