Monday, March 14, 2011

Not rock to bread, but bread to Body

Sunday's readings included Matthew's account of Satan tempting Jesus in the desert, starting at verse 4:1:

At that time Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.” He said in reply, “It is written: One does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.”

I've read this passage a number of times throughout the years, without noticing the Eucharistic overtones. On Sunday I finally saw the connection but only through the last line, when I thought about Christ being THE Word, our bread, the bread of heaven.

Last night in reading it again, another piece of the Eucharistic message came through, in the words of the tempter himself.

He is jealous, Old Hairy Legs. He disdains humanity but also envies us. We humans co-operate with the Father in creating new eternal souls, something the angels can never do. Their numbers are finite, ours increase until the end of time. He doesn't like that, and yet he also looks down on our incarnation, our embodiedness. And so he tries to speak to what he perceives as fleshly weakness; Christ's hunger.

At the same time the devil seems to be hoping to lure Him into an action for which it is not yet time. He says "Go ahead, turn a stone into bread."

Jesus, of course, says no. He says that He will not turn rocks into bread, He will instead transform bread into Himself. He knows we cannot live on bread alone, not even bread that was miraculously changed from lifeless stone.

We need more.

We need bread become Word. We need Eucharist.

It awes me to continue finding these Eucharistic messages throughout the Bible, waiting to be unveiled.

(Click here for more ponderings on Satan's jealousy of humanity.)


Albert McStephenson said...

Great post, Diane! It amazing to see what happens when we re-examine the things that we see that are so familiar. I honestly don't know how many times I've read or heard that passage, and I completely missed this analogy. Thanks for helping me see it!

Suzanne Marie DeWitt said...

Apologies for the delayed response on this comment Albert! I'm going to change the comment settings so that this doesn't happen again.

I'm glad that this passage hit you the way it did me! It stuns me that His word is so alive and newly relevant each time we come back to it. He is a great, great God.