In the Garden of Eden, we were commanded not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After we disobeyed, we were cut off from the tree of life.
Now we are invited in the Eucharist to take and eat the Body of Jesus and take and drink His Blood of the New Covenant and thereby have anew the life that Adam and Eve lost through disobedience–the very life of the Holy Trinity.
The first Adam shrank back from offering his life to save his wife and guard the garden from harm. The second Adam, Jesus, stepped forth in faith and courage and laid down His life for us, His sheep, so that we might have life and have it abundantly. He became our Passover lamb; we take and eat Him in Eucharist.
I have thought about the initial sense of revulsion we may have to eating the flesh and drinking the blood of our Lord. I think that Eucharist may be an example of the Lord’s “condescension” to our level, of Him gladly stooping down to meet us where we are.
When we were first created, we were given plants for food, but after our disobedience and exile, the Lord gave us skins for clothes and presumably the flesh of animals for food. We lost the life of the Trinity and were in a sense reduced to the life of the beasts (“you are dust and to dust you shall return”), so we ate their flesh. In the covenant with Noah, however, we were prohibited from drinking their blood. Why?
I learned somewhere along the way the the blood of a creature is symbolic of its life. So even early on and after we fell, the Lord was teaching us that we are not destined for the life of animals. In Jesus, we learn what sort of life we are still destined for: the supernatural life of the Most Holy Trinity. And how do we obtain this life? By eating the flesh of the Son of Man and drinking His Blood. The Lord meets us where we are, as creatures that must eat fellow creatures to live, and uses this most basic of our needs to raise us up in dignity to the His Life. Thank You, Jesus, Bread of Life!