This phrase is, in my opinion, one of the more important and one of the stranger phrases in the New Testament
. In context, it reads:
"Now as they were eating, Jesus
, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, 'Take, eat
; this is my body.' And he took a cup
, and when he had give
s he gave it to them, saying, 'Drink
of it, all of you; for this is my blood
of the covenant
, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness
, Chapter 26, verses 26-28
This is probably your cue to ask me, "So what? What's so special about it?"
Those of you that are Christian, or were born Christian, or were born-again Christians probably remember this from countless communions over the years, though perhaps in a different varient from that in Matthew in the Revised Standardized Version of the Bible. See Hoc est enim corpus meum for a discussion of arguments over exactly which version was right and what it meant. Still, it's widely used and recognized, as the rite of Communion is one of the main rites of Christianity.
First off, this passage begins the long and strange tradition of communion. This rite is present in virtually all variants of Christianity, and while the details vary (bread and wine, bread and grape juice, just bread, intinction, drinking from the chalice), almost everybody does it, and almost everybody uses some variant of that scripture passage. And, of course, almost everybody disagrees about exactly how it should be done. Hell, transubstantiation was one of those things people used to die over before we became "civilized people" (ha!).
Then, this also establishes Jesus's willingness to die for our sins, suffer and go away. In my opinion, that makes him a lot more god-like than most of us. He's telling the disciples to take over for him while he bops off to go get crucified. Also, establishes that he won't be taking over again once this whole resurrection thing is done with. Oh, no, it's in our hands now.
And, of course, this little ritual of symbolic cannibalism for rememberance and blessing adds a decidedly pagan feel to the sacrament. Now, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, you know. Before they were Christians, the people in the New Testament were either Jews or pagans, so a lot of elements of other mythologies got carried over.
"This is my body" is also the title of a poem that falls in the category of "This will never win a damn thing on Poetry.com because Chesh is an angry kitty and curses a lot." We had to write a political poem for Intro to Creative Writing, and I had spent far too much of the time I had allotted for writing involved in a very nasty, dirty little abortion debate (As in, both sides were calling the other things like "cunts," "douchebags," "dirty whores," and other, largely female-related, expletives.) Since there was no minimum word count or any other such crap, I wrote this in fifteen minutes, edited it, and turned it in. And yes, I knew her.
“This is my body,” she says,
Holding her stomach.
Was she drunk?
Was she raped?
Does it matter?
I knew a girl, once,
(Did you know her?)
He dumped her.
She drank to forget him.
She starved to be sexy.
She popped pills.
Then, five months later,
The test came back.