While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and, after saying the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.”
what we eat becomes us
seven days of unleavened bread
resets the body
goes on every time we speak
what we say becomes us
a feast of talking
blesses all around a table
breaking the old tasting the new
good news unburdens
unleavens bloated systems
this is my sign
One prior reference to bread is the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod, which is not a good thing. By itself, leavened or unleavened, Bread is to be blessed. A traditional blessing goes, Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, king of the world, who causest bread to come forth from the earth.
For Jews, the Temple is part and parcel of their presence. The Temple is their body in the same way Christians name the body of their meaning, Jesus. The temple falls to pieces, Jesus disciples are to be as scattered as the stones of the Temple.
Bread is here acting as a promissory token where both persons have one-half of the whole token that will bind them together where’er they go. It will have a magnetic effect to always draw them back together. No matter how they change, the token will be recognized when the two pieces are rejoined.
We get into circular causality with this formula of took… blessed… broke… gave…. It looks and sounds as if Jesus is instituting a new ritual. Knowing how such stories as Mark’s work, we can also see Mark grounding the actions and processes of his community by putting these words into Jesus’ mouth. Which came first will never be known with certainty.
It is important to remember even one verse back. Presumably, Judas is still with the Twelve and receiving his portion of Jesus’ “body”. If betrayal is not a sufficient reason to keep someone from receiving a token of “belovedness”—what, then, would be? Even Jesus’ body will fall apart into suffering and death. This is foreshadowed with the breaking of the flask of anointing oil.
Bread is a needed gift in the wilderness when brought by messengers of hope in a dire time. Here we find strength for the journey.