Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bread of Life -- Thanksgiving for the Low-Gluten Wafers

Gluten-free bread has become the bread of our lives. We make it from scratch, we buy it in bulk to put in the freezer, we go out of our way to stores that carry our favorite brands, and somedays we just eat our least favorite brand to satisfy hunger.

The Eucharist is also our Bread of Life. This is an imagery that is so prevalent in our liturgy; it's in our scripture, our prayers, and in our music. Of all the music that we sing, John Foley's One Bread, One Body holds a special imagery for me.

One bread, one body, one Lord of all,
One cup of blessings which we bless.
And we, though many throughout the earth,
We are one body in this one Lord.

(John Foley, Oregon Catholic Press, Breaking Bread, )

This great table that we gather around, no matter where we live around the world; no matter what car we drive to arrive at mass, or whether we walk or bike; no matter if we are mothers, sons, fathers, or daughters; no matter if our skin is tan or beige or peach; no matter if we eat a wheat wafer or a low-gluten wafer, we are the body of Christ. We are One body.

What does that One Body look like beyond the table. There are divisions, just look in the fellowship hall; someone forgot to bring the promised gluten-free pasta for the Italian dinner, so Nate and the other celiac parishioners get salad and sauce. Gladys, with her diabetes, skips the desert, or at least only enjoys one forkful. Steve is avoiding the wine, as he has been battling with alcohol and even one glass can become addictive. The Ingalls family is vegetarian, so they bring their own veggie sauce. Baby David is not yet eating solids, so his dinner comes in the liquid form from behind a discrete blanket thrown over mom's shoulder.

Leaving the dinner, each of us goes home to find different foods in our cupboards. For some, it is rice and beans, others enjoy the meat & potatoes, and for another family, the cupboard looks bare until the food bank opens Monday evening. If we were truly One, I wonder if all of us would go to bed content.

It's a circle that we live. When we partake of the Body of Christ, we are to live more fully as the Body of Christ. As we live out that life, those around us are more fully blest, desire to find out our motivation, and seek to find Christ. They in turn, come to the table that gives life. It is simple acts that we model of Christ's that bring us closer and inspire us to return each week and live more holy lives.

Blessed Mother Teresa is quoted as to having said, that we are to find the poorest of the poor in our own communities to serve. We all don't need to leave our homes and travel to India to serve in order to live holy lives. The Body of Christ is around the world and in our own towns, and in our own parishes.

For our family this week, we will pack a bag for the food bank; packing it to provide for those that are the poorest in our own community. We will try to think of various members of the body of Christ and choose foods to support them; a bag of rice, a box of gluten-free cereal, potatoes from the garden, and something for babies that are just starting to eat.

It's bread that brings us life and energy to live. It's the Bread of Life that brings the Catholic Christian community together each week at the altar. It's the Bread of Life that moves within us to live in the example of Christ.

Each week, Nate is able to walk forward, reach out his heart to ask Jesus to lead his life, and receive in out stretched hands the body of Christ.
I am so thankful that we have low-gluten wafers that allows even more Catholics to gather around the altar. In one more way, we are all a part of the Body of Christ.

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