Perhaps as Jesus fed all those people one day from five loaves and a couple of fish, he understood for the first time that it would never be enough for him, merely to feed those he loved - even with such abandon and abundance. Perhaps it was after that busiest day of blessing and doling out all that bread that Jesus dreamt of himself being Bread for us, realized that he himself was meant to be our Food. In the universe of the Bible, bread is the one food that no one can do without. No wonder then that Jesus will understand himself as bread, for he knows he is indispensable for us.
Jesus becomes food so that he can be dissolved in us, surrender himself to us. It's what he did on the cross, giving everything, all that he is. This is what lovers do - loving without measure, losing themselves in the other. When you love completely, you lose yourself. It is what you want most, but it will mean your undoing, even somehow your disappearance into the other. That's what eros means. You are no longer your own.
So it is that in the Eucharist Jesus draws us into the life of God; we are "spliced" into the very life of the Trinity, the breathtaking self-forgetfulness that is God; each Person truly himself by giving himself away. The Eucharist accomplishes this blurring of boundaries, as Jesus gives himself to us,
A few years ago, we heard about an American priest, who spent the summer filling in at church in a little village in Bavaria. The Feast of Corpus Christi came. There was a procession through the streets; he carried the monstrance with the sacred Host. Little girls tossed flowers; there was endless singing and clouds of incense. The next morning a young reporter from the local newspaper came to interview him. "Why Father," he asked, "were you carrying that beautiful little mirror through the streets yesterday? What was the significance?" My friend had to explain. Not a mirror at all, but perhaps a Mirror indeed. What did that German reporter know that perhaps we've forgotten? The fragile Bread is truly a Mirror in which we can see each other and ourselves - fragile, vulnerable, and truly worthy of reverence by one another.
Photograph by Brother Brian.