Friday, September 26, 2008

The Eucharistic Dimension of Christian Redemption

The Second Vatican Council called the Eucharist "the source and summit of the Christian life." In fact, the Eucharist is so important that all the other sacraments are ordered around it. For example: baptism makes us able to receive it, reconciliation restores us to it, marriage is a reflection of it.

But what I wanted to look at here was the Eucharist's connection to Adam and Eve and the New Adam and the New Eve.Think back to the Garden of Eden. Why where Adam and Eve kicked out?

Eating the forbidden fruit right? Wrong!

They got the boot because God wanted to protect them from the Tree of Life! "Then the LORD God said: "See! The man has become like one of us, knowing what is good and what is bad! Therefore, he must not be allowed to put out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life also, and thus eat of it and live forever" (Genesis 3:22). So why does God not want humanity to live forever? Because they would be living forever in a fallen (sinful) state! Genesis gives us another clue in the following verse: "The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken" (Genesis 3:23). If you recall, Adam's job in the Garden was to till and to protect it. He failed in his mission to protect it (and his wife) from the Devil - but God gives Adam the job of tilling the Earth outside the Garden. In other words, because of sin humanity is incapable of standing up to the Devil!

Enter Jesus.

Jesus Christ is the New Adam who undoes the sin of the first Adam. He does this chiefly by his death and resurrection. Adam's job was to lay down his life for his bride. Jesus does this by dying for his bride, the Church. Jesus, by being God and man, can stand up to the Devil and defeat him.

But how is this Eucharistic?

Well St. Paul described the cross as a tree - and we can thus consider the cross of Christ as the new Tree of Life! And the Eucharist makes sense of this in that it is not the tree we eat but the fruit adorning the tree. And on this tree we find the flesh and blood of Jesus - the same flesh and blood Jesus said we must eat in order to have eternal life (John 6:54-56)!

Moreover, the Mass re-presents the one sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. Through space and time God has used the Mass as a means of making that very sacrifice of the cross present to us today. By no means is the Mass a re-sacrifice of Jesus! The Mass is THE sacrifice of Jesus! Through the Eucharist the merits of Jesus are applied to us today and actually make us holy!

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