The Body We Crave

08-02-2020Weekly Reflection

We can’t help but notice today the barrage of advertising directed at getting us to buy products designed to enhance our bodies. “Infomercials” abound with this or that vitamin, health food that will give eternal youth, better looks, and lasting health. In the area of sexuality this trend has developed into the “potency industry” promising ecstasy in human relationships. Noteworthy, also, in this aspect of modern living is the tendency of contemporary society to look at our bodies as machines so that the goal is to develop a fine-tuned, high-powered engine.

The resurrection of the Lord speaks to the human desire for wholeness but in different and more profound way that is rooted in the whole truth about the human person. Jesus’ Body after the resurrection reminds us that the body is not a machine to be treated like a thing, but that it is part of who we are and that the body shares in our human dignity as creatures made in the image and likeness of God.

Jesus’ Body after the resurrection is different. He is the same Jesus, hands and feet and side marked with the eternal trophies of crucifixion but He is also different. He no longer comes and goes; He appears and vanishes in an instant. There are no longer any limitations to His Body. Barriers of time and space cease to exist. Yet He is not a ghost or phantasm but the same Jesus who eats and drinks with those He loves and has flesh and bones which are solid. Jesus now inhabits the realm of existence He is preparing us for with His Father: the realm of the resurrection.

The Body Jesus now manifests is revelation to us; the gift He wishes to bestow on us; and which He is preparing for us even now through the action of the Holy Spirit via the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. The glorified Body of the Lord has the following characteristics: all possibility of pain, suffering, and death are over. Body/Soul are in perfect harmony. This body is no longer limited by earthly existence as we know it including space and time. There is no longer any need for food or nourishment even though eating is possible. This list is not exhaustive because we are dealing with mystery and an experience we do not directly yet have.

Holy Communion puts us in direct contact with this new bodily existence: the realm of the resurrection! Pope Benedict XVI points this out in a series of profound mediations contained in the book God is Near Us. He authored this book while he was Cardinal Ratzinger. This realm of the resurrection is implied by the question: is it really possible for a Body (Jesus) to share itself out so that it is many hosts, many drops of Precious Blood, so that beyond the limits of space and time it is always there? Part of the answer is that the realm of the Resurrection and Easter knows no such limitations of space and time and the Eucharist puts us in contact with this new existence and is preparing our own humanity for the same type of existence! Let us dwell on this in prayer and meditation during these troubled times.