Wednesday, July 19, 2017

"took . . . and ate" redux

"The Eucharist is an act—better:  a decision.  [A] decision so irrevocable that, in it, Jesus can already communicate the fruits of the act itself before it has [actually] taken place:  it is thus that, on Holy Thursday, in anticipation of the sacrifice of the Cross, [and] even though his body has not yet been tortured and his blood had not yet been poured [out], Jesus can share with his disciples his Body given for us and his Blood poured [out] for us.  And this, by rendering them capable, by communion in this mystery, of not making of it a harpagmos, but of receiving it in the same spirit in which he is given to them [(il leur est donné)] in order that [they], in their turn might themselves be given [(se donner)].  [The verbs] ‘take’ and ‘eat’ have henceforth [been] transformed in sense:
In Genesis 3:6, these same verbs describe coveteousness in action:  in order to be as the god of the serpent and to master everything, the woman takes and eats.  It is these acts of taking and eating that Jesus invites his disciples to undertake [(poser)] when he shares the bread with them.  But the meaning of these two gestures is very different.  There they render concrete the totalizing envy that denies all alterity; here they are [a] reception of the other who manifests his desire to give himself [away].  In the case of the bread 'given in order that the world might have life' (Jn 6:51), to take and eat on the word of Jesus is the act par excellence of the acknowledgement of God who, in this Jesus, reveals that gives [us] all things (cf. Rom 8:32).
The fruit of the eucharistic attitude of Jesus (an action within the passion!) is to cause us to enter into the 'new and eternal' covenant with God.  It is not just, in fact, that the Eucharist gives us a share in this paradoxical act, but that, by actualizing the resurrection that is its end game [(aboutissement)], it gives us the capacity to respond to it and to deploy the fecundity of it in our lives by taking the same road.  Thus, the request for our daily bread is inscribed within the pascal act of him who 'suffered for [us] and left [us] the way to the end that [we might follow] in his steps' (1 Pet 2:21).  [The] request for [the] life which is death to self, it prepares us to live our own death as Christ experienced his:  in order that it might be given in communion with as [a] source of life."

     Jean-Pierre Batut, "Don du pain et combat de la persevérance," quoting André Wénin, Pas seulement de pain. . . .  Violence et alliance dans la Bible (Paris:  Cerf, 2002), 96-97, underscoring mine.  Revue internationale catholique Communio 42, no. 2 (mars-avril 2017):  72-73 (65-73).
  • Gen 3:6:  καὶ λαβοῦσα τοῦ καρποῦ αὐτοῦ ἔφαγεν· καὶ ἔδωκεν καὶ τῷ ἀνδρὶ αὐτῆς μετ᾽ αὐτῆς, καὶ ἔφαγον.
  • Mt 26:26:  λάβετε φάγετε.  The synoptics use the same verb for "gave" as well, Mk and Lk even the very same form (ἔδωκεν).

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