Monday, April 23, 2018

Post-resurrection Christianity

I want both of my readers to know that I have not given up blogging or stopped this modest effort to foster the diakonia of koinonia on-line. My reason for not posting this month is a very good one: I have been busy doing things that matter to me. Some of what I m currently working on will show up on here on Καθολικός διάκονος.

In the meantime, I was thinking this morning of a deeply insightful book I read some years ago now: Louis-Marie Chauvet's Symbol and Sacrament: Sacramental Reinterpretation of Christian Existence, which remains an important book some 24 years after it was published. Chauvet sees the Emmaus experience of Clopas and his unnamed companion as central to post-resurrection Christianity (see Luke 24:13-35). Writing of this pericope found in the twenty-fourth chapter of St Luke's Gospel, Chauvet insisted that
The passage of faith thus requires that one let go of the desire to see-touch-find, to accept in its place the hearing of a word, whether it comes from angels or from the Risen One himself, a word recognized as the word of God
The desire to see-touch-find leads us back to Jesus' dead body, which is not the body we receive in the Eucharist

Road to Emmaus, by Fritz von Uhde, 1891

As St Paul wrote: "For in hope we were saved. Now hope that sees for itself is not hope. For who hopes for what one sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance" (Rom 8:24-25).

"Luke in effect asks his audience," Chauvet continued, "'So you wish to know if Jesus is really living, he who is no longer visible before your eyes? Then give up the desire to see him, to touch him, to find his physical body, for now he allows himself to be encountered only through the body of his word, in the constant reappropriation that the Church makes of his message, his deeds, and his own way of living. Live in the Church! It is there that you will discover and recognize him'" (Symbol and Sacrament 166) It is the Eucharist that makes the Church the Body of Christ. The most concrete proof or disproof that we receive Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is the lives of those who receive it.

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