ENFL098

Friday of the Third Week of Easter

The theology Feuerbach missed

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us (his) flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life,  … For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him … This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.” Jn 6,52-58

When the philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach, inspired by Jacob Moleschott’s theory of Foods, wrote that “man is what he eats”, he did not think he was talking about the greatest theological mystery of Christianity, but that he was contributing to spread that deterministic and naturalistic vision of life, later taken up by Karl Marx. According to this odd theory, because the substances ingested are absorbed by the blood which, in turn, goes to supply the brain and heart, food would determine both thought and feelings of the thinking man. Feuerbach concludes: “If you want a better people, instead of speeches against sin, give them better food”. Being relentless against such nonsense would not be charitable to poor Feuerbach’s memory, who, not believing in the existence of God, spent a whole life talking about Him. History has already looked after it. We are interested in a completely different interpretation: the one which, against Feuerbach’s will, makes reference to the words of today’s passage: “my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him”. Today, the Lord speaks of the Eucharist, the gift of his body and his blood, that every day we receive at the first Mass celebrated at the sanctuary of Saronno, heirs of the silent teaching which grandfather Mario left us with his example. If we frequently participate in this sacrament, Jesus Christ dwells in us more and more, and we do in him. It is a mutual dwelling which already occurs partly by meditating on the Gospel every morning, but it is important that each of us complete this process of osmosis with the Lord by participating in the Eucharist. During the Holy Mass, he gives himself with his word, his body and blood: through the Holy Scriptures and under the species of bread and wine. Unfortunately, the people of God is rarely allowed to drink His blood, as does the celebrant priest each time. It would be nice that the church, beyond the practical reasons that prevent this, could offer the complete donation of Jesus Christ to every believer, because we all need to participate in the Eucharist under the species of wine, too. One day, in the heavenly banquet, there will not be such problems.

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