Richard Rohr on the Eucharist – A must read


Ritual as Knowing

Meditation 21 of 57

The ritual of Eucharist clarifies and delineates Christianity from the other religions of the world. We have many things in common, but Christianity is the only religion that says that God became a human body, and we are going to continue to promote embodiment as the way of knowing. God became flesh, as John’s Gospel puts it (1:14), and Eucharist continues that mystery in space and time. The theological word for that is Incarnation or enfleshment.

Yet it seems that it is much easier for God to convince bread of what it really is than for God to convince us. We alone balk, rebel, and analyze. Let’s be honest and admit that “eat my body and drink my blood” is scandalous talk (John 6:64-66) that has stopped scandalizing us!  And so we miss the point.  Eucharist is intentionally shocking.  It is cannibalistic, intimate, invasive, and sexual! Jesus did not say, “Think about this,” “Fight about this,” “Stare at this.” He just said “Eat this” and “Do this.”  Eucharist is a dynamic, interactive event that makes one out of two, just as sexual union does when two lovers want to be inside each other.

If we did not have the Eucharist, we would have to create it, the ritual is so perfect. Sometimes it seems that outsiders can appreciate this more than Christians. As Gandhi said, “There are so many hungry people in the world that God could only come into the world in the form of food.”  It is marvelous, that God would enter our lives not just in the form of sermons or Bibles, but as ingested food and drink. Jesus comes to feed us more than just teach us. Lovers can understand that. Others will make high liturgy and abstruse theology out of it.

Adapted from Eucharist as Touchstone (CD)

(Bold underlining is mine.)

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

7 thoughts on “Richard Rohr on the Eucharist – A must read”

  1. I am not a Biblical scholar myself, so I will bet the specialists clarify that. I doubt, anyway, that it refers to the Eucharist. I do not see anything in the context to support that, and to ibfer that based on the tense of a verg seems to me a little bit over the top. To say the least.


  2. Would you perhaps think that the severe admonition in 2 John 7 is for the memorialists who spiritualize Christ implicitly denying His body?

    “I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (NIV)

    John uses a strange word, or tense, in 2 John. Many translated it as past tense, or present tense, but it seems to be present continuous. “Christ coming in flesh”.

    Just a thought …


  3. Paul speaks about some of the consequences, even physical ones. But besides that, the soft consequence, I think, is that of missing on God’s intended blessings. A mere memorialistic (Zwinglian) view of the Eucharist, which dominates evangelicalism, reduces the life of faith to its immanent dimension, and makes it devoid of mystery. I course, some people could live very well like that, and I would say, may God bless them. But that is not for me. Modernity, with its truncated view of reality, has been proven wrong, and I do not want to live in that kind of illusionary reductionist world. If others can, so be it.


  4. Mr. Danut, let’s admit that Fr. Rohr is right. You already do, let’s pretend I do also. Now if the eucharist is so important, it necessarily means that those who ignore the body of Christ and eat just bread and drink just wine (or juice) are in great error. Being in such great error cannot be without consequences.

    What do you think are some of the immediate consequences of not discerning the body and the blood of Christ in the Eucharist?


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