Sunday, 9 January 2011

Interparish Youth Session again at Igatpuri

The youth of the five parishes of Nashik City and Igatpuri met again at Igatpuri for a one day session animated by Fr Roger / Raju OP from Goa.

Fr Roger led a very lively session, consisting of singing, talking, prayer, and mass. He challenged our youth to examine the values they live by, and to make their commitment to God in a conscious and deliberate way. Especially significant was the homily on the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. This point bore clarification, because many have the idea that the presence of Jesus is 'merely symbolic'.

Participants from our parish: Nikhil, Cheryl, Carol, Ansilon, Rephan, Delvin, Sophia. From Holy Cross 1, St Ann's 7, St Patrick's 5, Igatpuri about 15. A group of about 40, counting also the animators.

Fr Roger pointed out that in Jn 6, Jesus uses one word for eating his flesh (phagein), till the Jews challenge him. Then, in Jn 6:54, he uses another word (trogon), which originally meant animal eating.... This, he says, was meant to stress for us the reality of his gift of his flesh, and the need for us to devour him, live by him.

So: phagein, trogon. Flesh is not really 'meat' or 'piece of meat' except in the most direct, literal type of understanding and translation. It is SARX, which has a wealth of meaning in the NT, as has, I suppose, eating, in both OT and NT. Frank Moloney in The Gospel of John is quite good on this point: he says this 'eating with the teeth' hints at the violence of the Passion, as does the separation of flesh and blood.

Another site,

oJ trwgwn (trwgw) pres. part. "whoever eats" - the one feeding on, nibbling, munching, gnawing. The participle functions as a substantive. Now the eating is present tense, rather than aorist. The verb was originally used of animals eating, later of humans, but of eating in a rough manner. Brown sees this literalism as an evidence that the eating and drinking is a reference to the Lord's Supper. Again, this seems unlikely. The present tense may indicate continued action. "Our Lord meant the habit of continually feeding on him all day long by faith. He did not mean the occasional eating of material food in an ordinance", Ryle.
Whatever. We need to strengthen our catechesis. The presence of the Lord in the Eucharist is not 'merely symbolic' in the greatly devalued contemporary sense of symbol.

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