Thought of the day
Thursday, May 8, 2014

Thursday of the Third week of Easter
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"The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world"


Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.208), Bishop, theologian and martyr
Against the heresies, V, 2, 2 (trans. breviary 3rd Thursday of Easter rev.)

"The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world"

They are wholly mistaken who reject God's plan for his creation, deny the salvation of the flesh and scoff at the idea of its regeneration, asserting that it cannot put on an imperishable nature. If the flesh is not saved, then the Lord did not redeem us with his blood, the chalice of the eucharist is not a share in his blood, and the bread which we break is not a share in his body (1Cor 10,16). For... the human substance wich the Word of God truly became redeems us with his blood...

Since we are his members (1Cor 6,15) and are nourished by his creation... he declared that the chalice of his creation is his own blood, from which he augments our own blood, and he affirmed that the bread of his creation is his own body from which he gives growth to our being.

So when the mixed chalice and the baked loaf receive the word of God, and when the eucharistic elements become the body and blood of Christ, which bring growth and sustenance to our bodily frame, how can it be maintained that our flesh is incapable of receiving God's gift of eternal life? For our flesh feeds on the Lord's body and blood and is his member. So Saint Paul writes: “We are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones” (Eph 5,30; Gn 2,23). He is not speaking about some spiritual and invisible man...: he is speaking of the anatomy of a real man, consisting of flesh, nerves and bones. It is this that is nourished by his chalice, the chalice of his blood, and gains growth from the bread which is his body... In the same way, our bodies are nourished by the after being buried in the earth and... rise again in due season, when the word of God confers resurrection upon them “for the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2,11).

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