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Holy Communion Is A Mystery

According to Christian theology, in the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God brooded over the waters and infused life into it. And as a crown of creation, God created man in his own image and likeness by blowing His life-breath into the nostrils of the first human being-Adam. He was adorned with a garment of glory and had full- fledged physical- mental- spiritual faculties almost similar to all features and characteristics of God. But because of the sin and fall of man (Adam-Eve), there occurred depletion in the aura of glory and their power began to diminish which resulted in their estrangement with God. The love of God for humanity persuaded Him to venture replenishing the depleted haloes and to re- establish their lost relationship. God knew it would be possible only by His coming down in the form of human. Thus an incarnation was imperative.

Through the Incarnation of Christ, (i.e. God taking flesh or matter) the lost relation between the Creator-God and the Creation-Universe was reinstated and restored. This atonement (at –one- ment) is maintained as an on-going relationship through the sacraments by the Christian Church. Jesus Christ’s atoning supreme sacrifice at Calvary was meant for the atonement of the world (1John 1:7). His was a vicarious sacrifice for and on behalf of every human being to propitiate God and to exempt them from being demanded to be sacrificed. It was meant to put an end to the symbolic bloodshed of animal sacrifice from the face of the earth and to replace it with the bloodless sacrifice – the Holy Qurbana- in which the bread and wine are the symbolic representation, and mystical actualization of the real body and blood of Christ that had been shed and given as the ransom at the Cross of Calvary. (Ref John 6:55, Luke22:14-20, Mark14:22-25, Mathew 26:26-29,). The holy Qurbana is the only way by which the holy body and blood of the risen Christ is made available to the faithful who is prepared to receive it. It is a mysterious work of Holy Spirit which happens when He is invocated during the holy service to come and sanctify the holy elements.

As in the metabolic process, the food after digestion, forms or converted into blood called sanguification, so also, in the spiritual process, the bread and wine after the blessings, it becomes the body and blood of Christ [not the natural one (swabhavika shariram) but the one that was made into (vyapara shariram)] called sanctification. Although the bread and wine appears to be so in colour, taste and form; there is the objective real presence of Christ in the consecrated elements and so the communicants receive the real presence of Christ into their lives while receiving the body and blood of Christ through the Holy Eucharist. It is a mystery! We cannot fathom how the transformation takes place. But in the holy mystery of the Eucharist we truly receive our Lord Jesus Christ. We believe Him at his word and accept His statement, “This is my body and this is my blood”.

In Genesis 1:3 of the holy bible, we read that when God said, “Let there be light, and there was light”. At the very moment when God pronounced His word, the light came into existence. According to the theory of physics, an electromagnet can be produced by attaching a coiled wire to a battery. Bible testifies to the fact that by the holy annunciation(St.Luke 1:26-38), the Word of God(St.John1: 1-18), the 2nd person in the holy Trinity, could come down from heaven and live in human body taken from Saint Mary and could walk around on the face of earth as Christ the incarnate or Jesus of Nazareth. If these three things could happen, it is no wonder that by the word of institution followed by the epiclesis during the solemn moments of the holy service, the bread and wine offered at the holy altar can be converted into the mystical body and blood of Christ the incarnate respectively. Jesus was affirming this fact when he declared “Take and eat; this is my body…” (RefMathew26:26). “Drink of it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Ref Mat 26:27-28). He further made it clear that his flesh is the real food and his blood is the real drink. (John 6:55) This word of God is fulfilled in each holy Eucharistic liturgy. See what St.Paul says of it: “The cup we use in the Lord’s Supper and for which we give thanks to God: when we drink from it, we are sharing in the blood of Christ. And the bread we break: when we eat it, we are sharing in the body of Christ”. (1Corinthians10:16). Hence, it is called the Eucharist, the offering (St.Mark7:11), and the Cup of Salvation as said in Psalm 50:14,116:13. When Jesus commanded his disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke22:19), he was referring to a deeper meaning- something of a progressive nature or operation. The Hebrew term ‘Azkarah’ used to denote the word commemoration throughout the bible, has the meaning ‘that which is remembered is brought from the past into present’. In Orthodox terminology, ‘memory’ is not just a mental gymnastics but it is a living experience of the reality. In other words, it is the re-living of the past events. Like the magnetic field produced around a coiled iron bar connected to a battery, in terms of the science of sacraments, a field of spiritual energy (mystique) is there latent in and around the holy elements.

Holy Eucharist meaning-Thanks giving- is not at all a repetition but it is the continuation of the Supreme Sacrifice of Christ at the Cross and is also the sharing of the very life of Christ by being in his company whereby we acquire His nature of love and power of creativity. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17, Hebrew13:10-16, Psalms50:14). One accepts Christ’s offer of atonement when each time one accepts Jesus Christ as one’s personal God and Saviour in real faith and deed. This is possible when a person renews their faith in Christ through the sacraments like holy baptism, true confession and Holy Communion, etc. Gradually and eventually that person gains entry into the Kingdom of God (Rom 10:10). Salvation is a continuous spiritual process touching the continuum of past, present and future.

Unless one confesses their belief in Christ’s death on the cross and professes that it was for them and in their place, they are not going to get its benefits. The act of confessing and Professing of faith in Christ’s redeeming work is the means for one to get salvation wrought by Christ. The sacramental rites and rituals in Christian Church are the dramatic enactments and the historic presents of the life of Christ and through it the faithful re-live those events happened in the past and foretaste the eschatological events yet to happen in future. Through worship, a faithful makes a travel in time- machine to reach the three realms of time- the past, the present and the future. It goes beyond space transcending the time which means the four dimensional space-time continuums.