Yesterday’s post about consuming the flesh and blood of Jesus is still right here with me, I guess because it’s confusing and weighty. The Eucharist is a mystery. And yet, Jesus really did say that eternal life is found when we ingest Him fully, when He becomes infused in every part of our being. As I pondered this consuming of another person, a passage from Galatians came to mind. Paul’s letter to the believers in Galatia gave this instruction, taken from The Message version:
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then? (5:13–15, emphasis mine)
Paul is clear at the beginning of these verses that love is a way of treating others. Love requires us to serve one another just as Jesus served us—all the way to the cross, to the point of full sacrifice. Easy, right? Well, not so for me, seeing as I have a hard time sacrificing the last spoonful of batter. If I’m going to love like this—all out, my whole self and life, giving up all that I am for another—I need God in me.
This is why we need to feast on Jesus, so the mystery of such Love can be made manifest in us, changing us from the inside out, from the very deepest parts. Our souls cry out for such food; if we do not feast on Christ, our souls will settle for whatever substitute is handy. Even the people closest to us. We “bite and ravage each other” when we demand Me First. We refuse to see with our eyes and hear with our eyes the signs of life that make us human. We grow cold to the needs of others. We shred each other with words and silence and sinful acts. This is the zombie way.