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Patrick T.


A Banqueter's Guide to the All-Night Soup Kitchen of the Kingdom of God

Cover design by David Manahan. O.S.B. Photo courtesy of Neville Hughs and Holy Apostles Church. New York City. Scripture quotations are from Hew Revised Standard Version BibU: Catholit Edition, copyright 1989, 1993, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Although not quoted, the author gratefully acknowledges his use of The Oxford Study Bible: Revised English Bible with the Apocrypha, ed. M.Jack Suggs, Katherinc Doob Sakenfeld. and James R. Mueller (New \brk: Oxford University Press, f. 1992). C 2004 by the Order of Saint Benedict. Collcgevillc. Minnesota. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, microfilm, microfiche, mechanical recording, photocopying, translation, or by any other means, known or >rt unknown, for any purpose except brief quotations in reviews, without the previous written permission of the Liturgical Press. Saint John's Abbey. P.O. Box 7500, Collcgevillc. Minnesota 563217500. Printed in the United States of America. 1_________2_________3_________4__________5__________6_________7_________8 library of Congress Control Number: 2003105714 ISBN 08146-2955 5

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68 A Banqueter's Guide to tlie Ail-MgfU Soup Kitchen of the Kingdom of God

chapter, class, gender, and race continue to divide our communities and churches. Thousands of years after the Hebrew prophets said that audientic worship meant justice for the poor, the widowed, and the aliens, these three groups still make up the bottom ranks of our political, economic, and ecclesiastical hierarchies. Still, the most enduring and glaring failure of cucharistic table service has been Christianity and Catholicism's inability to overcome the chasm separating women and men at the eucharistic table. The unwillingness to abandon a sexist tabic hierarchy in our ritual and sacramental celebration of Jesus1 table fellowship keeps us from fulfilling his command to "do diis in memory of mc." In a church where only men can preside at Eucharist, say the blessing over die bread we break, or take the honored scats at liturgy, the sign of a male priest bending down to wash parishioners feet once a year is tragically muted, even eviscerated. And the maintenance of a patriarchal table at the Eucharist out of a misguided belief that males can more adequately image Jesus results in a meal that distorts the image of the heavenly banquet that Jesus practiced and proclaimed. Beggars, tax collectors, Gentiles, and sinners of every sort arc to be welcomed at God's banquet, and they will be given the honored seats. But at our Eucharist women are still fit only to wait upon the men. We cannot have a church where only half the congregation is expected to follow Jesus1 command to play die servant.

In the Eucharist we practice and proclaim the table fellowship of Jesus and anticipate the table fellowship of God's heavenly banquet. This radical table fellowship makes us a church and forms us into disciples and companions of Jesus. It teaches us a set of Christian "manners" about hospitality, friendship, and service. Radical table fellowship calls us to make room for the poor, welcome outcasts and sinners, and take a seat with the lowly. Practicing these table manners puts us in tension with political, economic, and ecclesiastical hierarchies that divide our tables, separating master and servant, rich and poor, male and female. And it places us in solidarity widi those who have been excluded from our common tables or pressed into service at them. After two millennia, our cucharistic celebrations continue to
70 A Banqueter s Guide to the All-Night Soup Kikhen of the Kingdom of God > Patrick T. McCormick, "Sacred Space: Balancing the Sanctuary and the Commons." Worship 74 (2000) 42-44. "Paul A. Jargowsky, ibverty and Place: Ghettos, Barrios, and the American City (New York: Russell Sage, 1997) 31-33; Edward J. Blakcly and Mary Gail Snyder, fortress America: Gated Communities in tlie United States (Washington. D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1997). 70 Patrick T. McCormick, "Just Punishment and America's Prison Experiment," Theological Studies 61

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(2000) 508-32. 31David Quammcn, "Planet of Weeds," Harpers, October 1998. 61, 65. "Kenneth R. Himes, "Eucharist and Justice: Assessing the Legacy of Virgil Michel," Hfah$&2 (1988) 219. "Philippe Rouillard, "From Human Meal to Christian Eucharist: II," Worship 53 (1979) 47. 24 Smith and Taussig, Many Tables, 21-23. "Cited in Dennis Smith, "Table Fellowship as a Literary Motif in the Gospel of Luke," Journal of Biblical Literature 106 (1987) 634. M Smith, "Table fellowship," 634. 27 LaVerdiere, Dining in the Kingdom of God, 36-42. '"Grassi, Loaves and Fishes, 26. :3 Donald Senior, "The Eucharist in Mark: Mission, Reconciliation, Hope" Biblical Theology Bulletin 12 (1982) 69. 30 Robert J. Karris, "The Gospel According to Luke," in 'The New Jerome Biblitol Commentary, cd. Raymond E. Brown. S.S.;Joseph A. Fitzmyer, SJ.: and Roland E. Murphy, O. Carra. (Englewood Clifis, NJ.: Prentice Hall, 1990) 702. 31 LaVerdiere, Dining in the Kingdom of God, 81. "Fcclcy-Harnik, The Lord's Table, 110. "LaVerdiere, The Breaking of the Bread, 94. " Ibid., 111-25. 3* Raymond F. Collins, Sexual Ethics and the Aht> Testament: Behavior and Belief (New York: Herder & Herder, 2000) 186-87; Lisa Sowle CahiU, Sex, Gender and Christian Ethics (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996) 150-60. *6 Karen Jo Torjcscn, When ttbmen Were Priests: Ufanen's Leadership in the Early Church b the Scandal of their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity (San Francisco: HarpcrSanFrancisco, 1993) 33. 37 Elisabeth Schsslcr Fiorcnza. "Tablcsharing and the Celebration of the Eucharist." in Can We Alwttys Celebrate the Eucharist?Ed. Mary Collins and David Power, Concilium (New York) 152 (New York: Scabury Press, 1982) 10. WJ. Milburnc Thompson, Justice ami Race: A Christian Primer (Maryknoll. N.Y.: Orbis, 1997) 98. 'Anne Carr, "Women.Justice, and the Church." Horizons 17 (1990) 275. 'Shcilia Hardwcll Byrd. "Churches Seek to Bridge Racial Divide," Columbian (Clark County, Washington), 1 July 2000, sec. E. " Himes, "Eucharist and Justice," 219. "Crockeu. Symbol ofTnuisformation, 253.

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Chapter Three

"This Is My Body"

Recognizing the Body of Christ

"Tliis is my body." We hear these words every Sunday as wc pray in the Eucharist that the bread and wine we offer and share might "become for us the body and blood of Jesus Christ." This prayer expresses our faith that the risen Christ is really and sacramentally present to us in diis cucharistic meal, hi this bread, blessed, broken, and shared wc recognize and participate in the real presence, the Body of Christ. At the same time we pray in the Eucharist not just that the food we offer might be transformed into Christ's body, but also dial we, the community of disciples gathered around the tabic, will become more fully that which wc arcthe Body of Christ. For Paul tells us that "Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it" (1 Cor 12:27). In baptism we have died with Christ and been bom again in Christ. And so in the Eucharist we, the Church, celebrate our own identity and vocation as the Body of Christrecognizing the real presence of Christ in the meal being shared and in the community sharing and being nurtured and shaped by that meal. Recognizing ourselves as the Body of Christ means acknowledging that our baptism has joined us to Christ and tied us to one another. We are now one, and old divisions, hostilities, and inequalities must dissolve in this new union. This same union also calls us to care for the wounded and broken parts of Christ's body. Dbcerning the Body of Christ, dicn, means seeing Christ present in the bread broken and shared, in the whole community formed and sustained by that sharing, and in the bodies of the sick, suffering, hungry, naked, imprisoned,

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